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a I B R.AR.Y 

OF THE 
UN IVLRSITY 
or ILLINOIS 

623 
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BROWN AS A BERRY. 



BROWN AS A BERRY 



I iofel. 



BY 



GEOEGE DOUGLAS. 



Eoslein, Eoslein, Eoslein rotla, 
Eoslein aiif der Heiden." 

Goethe. 



IN THEEE VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



LONDON: 

imSLEY BROTHEES, 8, CATHEEmE STEEET, STEAND. 
1874. 

[_All rights of Translation and Eeproduction are reserved.] 



lONDOK : 
SATILL, EDWABDS AND CO., PEINTEES, CHAND03 STBEET, 
COVENT GARDEN. 







BROWN AS A BERRY. 



CHAPTER I. 



OW are tlie ferrets, Rattray ?" asks Davie. 
"Weel, they're i' the land of the 
leeving,, or they were when I left the steading 
an ■'oor ago_, in perfick health. The blackbird 
whistles ' Over the water to Charlie' that pretty 
you wad think it was just mysel. But the 
ferrets will fair beat the wife and me to keep 
i^ the hoose. There was ae day they eatet oot 
and couldna be fund neither up nor doun, and 
Cecilia in coming through the room at nicht 
felt something grip her leg. "What a skirl she 
gae ! Weelj 1 comes and gets a licht and here^s 
ae ferret, and the tither ane we catched i^ the 
middle o' her new mutch wi' green ribbons." 

" How jolly !" says Davie, with splendid in- 
difference to Cecilia's feelings on the discovery 

VOL. II. 1 



2 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

in lier Sunday cap, and putting liis hands in liis 
knickerbocker pockets with all tlie dignity of a 
grown-up man. 

" Jolly, did ye ca^ it T' returns Rattray. 
" Weel, that twa beasties they were that mis- 
chievious I could hae thrawn their necks aboot, 
and Cecilia, she says, ^ Henry, Til no put up wi"* 
the like,^ and says I, ' Cecilia, it^s no to be 
thocht ye should/ What a time we had catching 
them. It was upon the Sabbath nicht, for, ye^ll 
observe, the Deevil is aye busiest upon the Sab- 
bath ; there are sae mony idle oors that a body 
sits wi^ their fingers afore them, and ye cauna 
read the Bible and gude bookies a' day. A 
body is like to weary. It was an awfu^ lang 
Sabbath, and Cecilia and me hadna been to the 
kirk; ye see, she hadna got hame her goon for 
ganging till the kirk wi"*, and she didna like tae 
be a scrub afore strangers. I wearied that ter- 
rible I gaed to my bed and had a grand sleep. 
Weel, we got a fine rousing up wi^ thae ferrets, 
and I muckle doot the Deevil himsel was in 
them. Deed aye, Davie, I wad gang clean 
demented gin a' the week was made o^ Sabbaths." 

Thyrza and the twins are buying wool at the 
one shop in the village of Carmylie. This shop 
is popularly known as the shop. Rattray has 
also condescended to honour it with his patronage, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 3 

and is criticising freely tlie quality of the pur- 
chase he is about to make. All manner of 
articles, from rhubarb pills, tallow-candles, last 
week''s newspapers, tartan plaids, the fashions in a 
magazine published a couple of years ago, to cheap 
and gorgeous fishing flies, adulterated tea with a 
faint flavour of the original herb, a strong taste 
of rusty nails, and an overpowering scent of 
unsavoury salt fish, are sold for the benefit of 
the ignorant and unwary in the village and glens 
around. 

" Long lines of cliffs breaking have left a chasm 
And in the chasm " 

as in a nest, is placed the fishing-village. It 
consists of about thirty odd little whitewashed 
cottages, with a variety of roofs, some thatched, 
some red-tiled, a copious growth of houseleek 
and golden moss growing round the chimneys. 
The greater part of the cottages are built on one 
side of the road or street only. 

The manse forms a conspicuous object, being 
the sole two-storied dwelling-house, and is sur- 
rounded by a small garden. 

Two large ancient cypress trees, cast their 
shadows on the kirk-yard, which runs parallel 
with the manse. Black-legged and black-faced 
Highland sheep graze among the graves of the 

1—2 



4 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

dead ; for whicli last the rip[jling^ surging ocean 
sings everlasting scMum-Jieds and solemn re- 
quiems ; and the kirk steeple with its rusty bell 
in the open belfry ;, points upwards to the sky. 

A narrow reef of rocks runs out into the sea. 
Right and left lie a wall of iron-bound crags, 
with great dark caves where the waves seeth 
and boil and toss in the winter storms. Half-a- 
dozen brilliantly painted boats ride at anchor. 

The tide comes in splashing and babbling over 
the splintered stones, covered with yellow sea- 
weed. 

On the shell-strewn beach stand a group of 
women dressed in snowy caps and unimpeachable 
tight-fitting bluish-grey stockings, and striped 
petticoats, awaiting the return of the herring 
fleet, which is just rounding a large cliff into 
the harbour of Carmylie. 

The boats have all sails set, and dance along 
on the in-coming tide, gradually covering the 
line of stake nets stretching far into the sea. 

The vessels touch the shore, the men leap out 
and begin to land their briny prey, throwing the 
lobster-creels and fishing nets on the sands, 
while others in long jack boots and red caps 
haul the boats on dry ground and make fast the 
anchors. 

Pirty, fat children, who would be pretty did 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 5 

they but know that " cleanliness is next to god- 
liness/' play at " housies^'' among the coils of old 
rope, bits of timber, and debris of wrecks that 
are always being washed up by the tide, and 
dead starfish and crabs and scraps of decaying 
seaweed lying upon the beach. 

Up above the cliffs the country is wild and 
sterile. Close to Carmylie and the village the 
land has been brought into cultivation by dint 
of strenuous hard labour and much expenditure of 
capital. But beyond Carmylie there is nothing 
but mountain^ wood, and moor, or moor, wood, 
and mountain. 

The people are simple and honest; theft and 
poverty are alike unknown among them • while no 
one ever thinks of bolting or barring a window 
or door at Carmylie, either at the big house or 
in the village. 

After completing his purchases, Rattray goes 
down to the beach where he is presently busy in 
collecting seaweed for agricultural purposes in a 
wheelbarrow. Davie secures an opportunity, 
when his back is turned, and capsizes the barrow, 
load and all. Rattray, finding out the mishap 
and the culprit, pursues Davie with a pitchfork, 
not intending of course to hurt him. But Davie, 
in mortal fear, rushes along the slippery dulse 
rocks and falls headlong into a deep pool 



6 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

of water, from whence Rattray rescues liim, 
drenched, dripping, and forlorn. 

" Oh my ! is not Davie in a pickle, that is 
all ?" exclaims Rosie. " And his good, new 
clothes too !" 

" My good clothes V^ echoes Davie, in a voice 
between crying and choking. 

" The Losh keeps V^ says Rattray, calmly 
raking together the seaweed. " Wha wad hae 
thocht it ?' 

Thyrza surveys Da^de^s deplorable appearance 
with dismay. That young gentleman, however, 
after lying on his back as if in a fainting con- 
ditioil, suddenly recovers fi'om his prostrate 
position and rolls over and over in the soft, 
dry sand until he resembles nothing in nature, 
unless an animated ball of sand crawling on all- 
fours can be imagined. 

" Now, Davie,^"* she says, imploringly, " do be 
a good boy." 

^^ Do be a good boy," mimics Davie, returning 
to his former elegant flat attitude and kicking 
his legs in the air. 

" Noo, Davie, get up this meenit and stand 
upon yer feet, which were given ye for that pur- 
pose," says Rattray, authoritatively. Having 
been born and bred on the Carmylie estate, from 
which he had never been many miles distant in 



BROWN AS A BEKRY. 7 

his life^ lie considers himself part and parcel of 
the place and family, and therefore fully qnalified 
to give his opinion on all subjects with liberality. 
^^ Miss Rutherfurdj ye should tak^ him ben to the 
manse, Mr. Dods is aye glad to see the leddies. 
Did ye ken how he has never got a wife ?" 

"NOj I am sure I do not/^ answered Thyrza. 

" Because/' goes on Rattray, with a wink in 
the direction of the manse, '' he has never 
stopped lang eneuch in ae pairt for the banns to 
be proclaimed. The meenister is coming oot to 
speak till ye, and ye can speir at him yersel 
anent the truth o' fat I hae telled ye, Davie. 
Gin ye do that again I^'U make ye wonder at 
yoursel." 

" What has Master David been doing to be 
reduced to so melancholy a state ?'^ asks Mr. 
Dods, in his usual solemn voice. " My servant 
will convert him into a more elegant appear- 
ance. Miss Rutherfurd^ will you step into the 
manse for a few minutes ?" Thyrza, thinking this 
a means of getting Davie set to rights, is glad to 
fall in with Mr. Dods' wishes, and, with the 
children, she enters the manse. 

A gawky Highland girl, about eighteen years 
of age, with her abundant red hair knotted round 
her head, a little scarlet and green plaid shawl, 
fastened over her shoulders above her blue short 



8 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

gown^ her brown linsey petticoat just reaching 
to her bare white ankles^ appears in answer to 
the minister's call_, and, bringing a towel^ begins 
a vigorous operation of rubbing up and down, 
and brushing and scrubbing the habiliments 
of DaA'ie, which proceeding, judging from his 
rueful countenance, he by no means enjoys. 

" What do you think of the manse T* con- 
tinues Mr. Dods. " It has only one defect. 
Miss Rutherfurd, and that defect is, it wants 
a mistress. '^ 

'' I should think you would find it an easy 
task to provide it with one," replies Thyrza, 
looking out at the sea_, now dimpled with light, 
as the blue island-studded ^^gean doubtless 
appeared when the Greek poet wrote of '^ old 
ocean's many twinkling smile.'' 

" It is not such an easy matter as you might 
suppose," returns Air. Dods. '^ The ladies have 
been very cruel to me. Miss Rutherfurd ; will you 
not allow me to pour you out a glass of wine ?" 

'^ No_, thank you," says Thyrza, consulting her 
watch. " It is just the children's dinner hour, 
and I must hurry back. Mrs. Napier does not 
like them to be late. I am much obliged to you 
about Davie. He looks a respectable member 
of society again." She holds out her hand to 
]\lr. Dods intending to bid him farewell, but he 



BROWN AS A BERRY. V 

puts on liis hat and insists on escorting her up 
the one steep street of the village to the pine 
avenue of Carmylie. 

" I shall not think of intruding to-day at the 
house, Miss E/Utherfurd, as I understand the 
family are going frona home for some time/^ 

^' Yes, Mrs. Napier and Mrs. Terrier are going 
to Moffat for some weeks.-''' 

" Does Mr. Terrier remain at Carmylie ?" 

"No, monsieur, Mr. Ferrier goes to Edin- 
hurgh." 

" There won^t be room for Uncle Jack in the 
carriage,^^ remarks Rosie. 

" Why not ?" asks Mr. Dods. " It is a capa- 
cious vehicle, capable of holding five or six 
persons, I should have conceived, from its 
exterior.'''' 

" But then mamma and granny have such lots 
of boxes. Uncle Jack said he would have to 
sit on the top of the lamp if he went with 
them.^' 

" Then in what manner does your uncle intend 
to accomplish the transit from Carmylie to 
Queensmuir ?'^ 

" Mr. Burnet, who farms Carmylie Mains is 
going to lend Mr. Terrier a pony if it comes 
back in time from Queensmuir,^^ answers Thyrza. 

" The merciful man is merciful to his beast,^'' 



10 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

remarks Mr. Dods. " Were it not that it would 
cause your uncle inconvenience and also dis- 
appoint him^ I could wish the pony did not 
return in time. I perceive Mrs. Napier is also 
enjoying the salubrious air.^^ 

Charity is exercising the sporting dogs, with 
whose movements she is so thoroughly occupied 
she has scarcely a word to spare for the minister. 
She calls continually " Dash, come into heel. 
Dido, Dido. Grouse, what are you doing ?^^ 
The dogs, in ecstasies at being liberated from the 
kennels, rush madly about, careering wildly in 
all directions, and mind Charity^s vociferated 
appeals as much as the shoulder of the Witches 
Law minds the wind piping shrilly over its moors, 
its weird loch, and its heathery head. Wasp puts 
up a rabbit. The little animal tries gallantly to 
save its life, takes to a ferny brake, doubles and 
fences, but without avail, and the terrier drops 
it, half choked, but not dead, at Charity's feet, 
wagging his tail and looking up roguishly into 
her face. 

" Oh, mamma, it is such a little wee wee 
rabbit,^' cries Rosie, " do let me have it for a 
pet r 

" Horrid creatures V^ says Charity, calmly, 
while Wasp, taking the unlucky rabbit by its 
throat, shakes it like rat, and finally puts it out 



BROWN AS A EERRr. 11 

of its misery. '* They are nothing but vermin. 
We are pestered to death with them.''^ 

" Oh_, mamma \" cries Rosie, bursting into 
tears,, '^ how could you let Wasp kill it ?" 

" Now, Rosie/' replies Mrs. Napier, " I am 
certainly not going to encourage you in any 
mawkish nonsense of the kind. You are out of 
your infancy now, and must give over these 
babyish outbursts. I daresay Mr. Dods is horri- 
fied at me.^'' 

Mr. Dods here tells a decided white lie. 

" But if you were as much tormented as we 
are with rabbits you would be thankful to get 
rid of a few of them. They eat all the vege- 
tables, and it is impossible to rear any flowers on 
account of their ravages.''^ 

" One Sanday out of nine, sir, is all that I call mine, 

sir. 
But she did not tell me that she had engaged the other 

eight with 

A tinker and a tailor, a soldier and a sailor, 

And a swell that used to talk about his Par and his 
Mar, 
A butcher and a baker, and a dirty looking quaker, 
All a courting pretty Jessie at the Railway Bar" — 

carols Davie, having recovered his spirits. 

" That is a most edifying ditty,'" observes the 
minister, wishing to take his leave, and not 
knowing exactly how to do so without awkward- 



12 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

ness. " Puncli " has given some ludicrous 
samples for persons in similar embarrassments. 
Seriously, it would be useful if the next book 
published on manners and etiquette Tvould state 
a few easy and elegant modes of making one^s 
exit after a morning call. 

'^ What a dreadfully vulgar song V remarks 
Mrs. Napier, having flung the remains of the 
rabbit over a hedge into the wood. '' Wherever 
did you pick it up, Davie V 

" Tom Hislop taught me it when I stayed at 
the Bank in Queensmuir/^ says Davie, proceed- 
ing to a different verse. " By Jove, if here is 
not Jessie with another cove. IVe seen her 
with a tinker.-'-' 

Mr. Dods clears his throat, ahem ! stares at 
Thyrza, whom he considers an exceedingly 
pretty girl, and very interestingly employed in 
the task of consoling Kosie, who is heartbroken 
at the premature decease of the rabbit, washes to 
goodness he could go back to the manse at once ; 
they are close to Carmylie House now, and Mrs. 
Napier will, perhaps, think he wants to be in- 
vited to lunch. Mrs. Napier does not think 
that, but she does think " the old bore sticks to 
one like a limpet to a rock." 

" Well," says the minister. 

" Well, Mr. Dods," returns Mrs. Napier. 



BROWN AS A BEREY. 13 

Then lie stops and finally makes a feeble 
observation about bis dinner and Mrs. Napier 
finding ber bealtb improved by Moffat. 

Mrs. Napier does not ask bim to prolong bis 
walk^ and not sorry to part from ber_, for she 
does not seem to be in the most amiable of 
moods to-day_, he returns to the manse^ musing 
on Thyrza; " Rutherfurd is a good name. Has 
she connexions in Scotland?" Mr. Dods has 
great faith in connexions. Connexions may be 
" bigwigs " with extensive church patronage^ who 
would see that Mr. Dods^ light is hidden under 
a bushel at Carmylie village, and might be in- 
duced to give him a " call " to a sphere where 
his talents would have fair play,, and have a 
better chance of being brought into notice. 
Thyrza can have no money or she would not 
hold her present position of governess to Mrs. 
Napier^ s children. 

Mr. Dods is not certain but that he would 
overlook the lack of dower and even of con- 
nexionSj if Thyrza, at some future period, w^ould 
consent to become Mrs. Dods. 

A very ill-cooked half- raw beefsteak, sent in 
on a cold dish wdth a cold plate to match, con- 
vinces him that a wife would be a desirable 
addition to his household. The potatoes are 
smokedj and the green peas boiled to rags. 



14 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Mr. Dods goes forth,, and objurgations are 
subsequently heard proceeding from the kitchen, 
after which he sets out on his plump Sheltie on 
an excursion to the glen to counsel the lesson of 
patience to an irate dame who had been to pay 
him a visit at the manse lately to complain of 
the delinquencies of her gudeman Donald at the 
last Hill Market. 

Things which happen to oneself are of so 
much more importance than those which touch 
other people. 

Lunch is over at Carmylie. Terrier has been 
shooting some crows, and has not come in for 
the meal which is in reality the dinner of the 
family, and called lunch by Charity, only for the 
sake of politeness. Thyrza and the twins are in 
the schoolroom, looking out on the departure of 
Charity and Mrs. Terrier. Rattray, in his 
Sunday suit of funereal black — no Scotchman 
considers his *^ get up " correct unless he has in 
his wardrobe a suit of superfine black broadcloth, 
in which he looks like a retired jovial undertaker 
— is on the dickey of the carriage. 

" Pay attention, Rosie,^^ says Thyrza. 

Rosie is standing in an erect attitude, her 
feet turned out in the first position, her hands 
meekly folded behind her back, trying to repeat 
Wordsworth's " We are Seven.^^ Thyrza settles 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 15 

Davie to a column of spelling, discovers she is 
ingeniously fastened to her chair by means of 
two fish hooks ; frees herself from her captivity ; 
detects Davie ^^ improving the shining hours^^ by 
tying reels of thread to Wasp's tail, an opera- 
tion to which that hairy quadruped entertains a 
strong objection ; feels duly thankful she is not 
boxed up in the close carriage in which, on fine 
Sunday mornings. Charity journeys with the 
others to the little episcopal church at Queens- 
muir ; and then the hour and a half of lessons 
being expired, she gives the joyful permission to 
put away the books for the day. 

Rosie runs off" without w^aiting to arrange her 
slate and lesson books. Davie remains behind, 
and on Thyrza chancing to turn round, she dis- 
covers him making an autQ-da-fe of Rosie's doll, 
which he has beheaded on a sort of scaff'old, and 
is now endeavouring to buru by means of lucifer 
matches and a box of Ferrier's vesuvians placed 
underneath the mangled head and decapitated 
body. He is with difficulty induced to leave this 
exciting pursuit and follow Thyrza in search of 
Rosie. He suddenly disappears, and Thyrza 
wanders up and down the long winding passages 
without result, until hearing squeaks of sup- 
pressed laughter proceeding from Mrs. Napiei's 
room, she turns in that direction, and finds 



16 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Eosie struttiDg in front of the large clieval 
mirror, in which Charity beholds the eflfect of 
her costumes and sees if her dress and petticoats 
hang properly. She is attired in a blue silk 
dress of Mrs. Napier^s, far too long of course for 
the child ; has pinned on some extra flaxen curls 
belonging to Charity and left out by her in the 
hurry of going away; has smeared her cheeks 
with " veloutine^^ for blondes,, used by Charity 
when she wishes to look particularly charming ; 
has darkened her eyebrows with walnut pomade, 
the immediate result of which is to impart a 
greenish shade to her own fair ones ; has got out 
a large fan, arranged her tulle and silk skirts 
over one arm; while in the background Davie 
advances and retires in a species of dance known 
in private to the twins by the name of the 
" Napier War Dance." 

'' Oh, do look at me/" cries Rosie. " Am I 
not pretty ?" 

Davie capers and twirls, making some very 
irreverent gestures behind Eosie^s back. 

'^ Rosie, come and have tea at once,"' says 
Thyrza, with as solemn a face as she can assume. 
The corners of her mouth will, however, twitch 
rebelliously, of which the children take notice ; 
and Rosie, fixing the blue gown out of her way, 
joins the dance with energy, bobbing, and curt- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 1 7 

seying^ and gesticulating, Charity^s false curls 
nodding and waving, and Davie flying in and 
out, until Thyrza, no longer able to contain 
herself, falls back on the sofa in a fit of laughter. 
Exhausted and tired with her exertions, Rosie sits 
down before the mirror; but Davie, game to the 
last, still continues to circle round her singing — 

" Jim Crow's sister went to the ball, 
When she got there she couldn't dance at all , 
But wheel about and turn about and just do so, 
And ebbery time she turned about she jumped Jim 

Crow. 
The lady in the gallery and in the middle row, 
Every time they turned about they jumped Jim Crow. 
Wheel about and turn about and just do so. 
And ebbery time she turns about she jumps Jim 
Crow." 

" Come to tea,^^ commands Thyrza, when 
Davie is breathless with shouting and jumping. 
" We must put away Mrs. Napier^s things, or 
she will be very angry.^"* 

" There is no tea to come to/^ announce the 
twins with one voice. 

" Why not V' ejaculated Thyrza. 

" Because Cecilia is in Queensmuir and 
mammals maid has gone for the cheap trips. So 
you see we can have no tea,^"* cheerfully con- 
tinues Davie, lying on his face and drumming 
on the floor with his heels. 

" E-osie, do come.^^ 

VOL. II. 2 



18 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" I don^t want to/" declares Eosie. 

Thyrza reflects^ and after a miuute's con- 
sideration announces the result of her cogitation. 

^^ If you will put away Mrs. Napier's things 
where you found them^ we will have tea outside 
on the lawn, and I will make you an omelette."" 

Davie and Rosie jump joyfully at this idea, 
Eosie divests herself of her borrowed finery, and 
they proceed with one accord to the kitchen, 
and Thyrza entrusts the twins with the task of 
dragging a light deal table out to the front door 
while she goes to the farm steading to look for 
eggs wherewith to prepare the omelette. She 
enters the stables, dark inside in contrast to the 
glare of the bright sunshine without, and is 
greeted by a welcoming whinny from an old 
grey pony called Sultan, installed for the nonce 
in a loose box. She gives him the piece of oat- 
cake, without which she never comes unprovided ; 
kisses Lis forehead while he rubs against her, 
looking at her with that dumb intense aflPection 
one so often sees in the undeceiving unperfidious 
eyes of dogs and horses. She scrambles into the 
hay-rack by the aid of Sultan"s back, dislodges 
some cackling hens, finds a number of eggs, 
and a cat and a family of kittens, which she 
defends from the vicious attacks of Wasp, and 
then thinks it is about time to descend. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 19 

A strip of sunlight streams through a chink in 
the stable- door^ in it the dust motes dance up 
and down ; it falls on Thyrza^s brown face, her 
eyes shining like two diamonds ; Wasp runs 
along the broad steps of a short stumpy ladder 
leading to the granary ; all above in the big 
empty stable is sombre profound darkness. The 
single ray is the sole illumination. 

^* Oh, monsieur !" exclaims Thyrza, with a start 
from the hay-rack, '' how did you come here ?" 

" On my legs and feet," he returns. 

*^ And I thought you were going to Edinburgh 
to-day.'' 

'^ So did I j however, the farmer could not 
lend me his horse, consequently I came here.'' 

" Please, monsieur, give me a hand down." 

^' Shan't," says he, brusquely, leaning against 
the great bin in which the corn is kept, a little clay 
pipe burned black by constant use in his mouth, 
and his hands in the depths of his trousers' pockets. 

" Why not ?" 

" Because I am afraid of losing my head." 

" Oh, monsieur," looking over the hay-rack 
in some trepidation at the height between it and 
the floor. "It is very unkind of you." 

"You should not have got up there, that's 
all. How you do tempt a fellow." 

"I don't want to tempt any one; I don't 

2 — % 



20 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

know what you mean. But I do want to get 
down. Will you take the basket of eggs, then ?' 

" YeS; ril do that. You are a first-rate hand 
at scrambling and climbing, so you don^t require 
any assistance, and if you can^t manage by your- 
self, as far as I am concerned you may stop there 
all night.'' 

He receives the basket of eggs and resumes 
his former nonchalant attitude. 

'^ Oh, monsieur, go away," says Thyrza, men- 
tally measuring the distance of the jump between 
Sultan's back and the hay-rack, for she begins 
to think it the only practicable means of descent. 

^^Not I," he answers, looking very malicious 
and mischievous. " I am pretty comfortable, 
all things considered ; I don't pretend to answer 
for your feelings ; I have generally enough to do 
to answer for myself." 

" If monsieur would not look," continues 
Thyrza. " But you do make me so frightened! 
And there is no saying what Davie and Rosie 
may be doing. It is too bad of monsieur," she 
ends with a pout. 

" It is a matter of complete indifference to 
me whether you are pleased or not, or what 
those blessed children are up to. They are 
always tacked on to you like Sinbad's old man 
of the sea. Besides, if they chop off their fingers 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 21 

with the carving-knife I shall not get the blame/^ 
returns Jack. 

" That is so like a man^s mean way of doing 
things/'' says Thyrza, with flashing eyes. " The 
very manner in which Adam laid the blame on 
poor Eve." 

" Don^t you think you could have suggested 
a less common illustration ? Adam and Eve are 
about done to the death." 

Thyrza as usual, when getting into difliculties 
in her arguments,, has recourse to silence ; and 
twisting her dress and petticoats as tightly round 
her as she can, lets herself slip from the hay- 
rack on to Sultanas back. From thence it is 
easy to slide to the ground. 

Ferrier and she walk in silence through the 
coach-house, along a passage ; Thyrza's little 
feet trip across the empty stack-yard and the 
great deserted farm buildings, all the more 
melancholy and desolate on account of their 
large size and importance. There is not a soul 
to be seen ; some fat ducks waddle idiotically in 
Ferrier^s way, and a foolish hen, evidently the 
victim of a guilty conscience, keeps in front of 
him for a minute, under the mistaken idea that 
he is pursuing her. The sporting dogs bay a 
'' deep-mouthed welcome " from the tumbledown 
kennels, which in old Mr. Ferrier's day were 



22 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

noted far pnd wide; but the stalls^ where his 
thoroughbreds were stabled,, are tenanted by the 
poultry, and the two carriage horses now trotting 
into Queensmuir, and the big coach-house only 
contains a dog-cart of age and clumsiness which 
make it despised by the very son of the soil who 
farms Carmylie Mains. To Terrier there is 
something of sadness in the lonely courtyard, 
and dismal^ weed-grown^ grassy steading ; nettles, 
burdock, and thistles springing in rank profu- 
sion between the flagged stones and the rotting 
woodwork of the gates and fences. It looks 
like the house — uninhabited, neglected, weird. 

The twins run forward to meet Jack and 
Thyrza. " We have got the table ready,^"* they 
cry, " and the cloth is spread/'' 

" You don^t mean to say you are going to 
have tea outside," says Ferrier. " Why, it will 
be tilled with various specimens of the midge 
tribe." 

" Monsieur is at liberty to drink tea where 
he pleases. We do not " 

" Want his society," he laughs. '' That is 
right, speak your mind, mademoiselle." 

The fire is out in the kitchen. Thyrza rakes 
out the ashes which settle in a cloud on her 
dark hair. She kneels down on the hearth, and 
with some sticks and bits of peat, endeavours to 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 23 

rekindle it. Jack takes possession of tlie quaint 
chair, in which Rattray is wont to sit while dis- 
cussing the news and scandal of the glen, the 
fishing-village,, and Queensmuir. The kitchen is 
an old-fashioned one, floored with brick ; there is 
a wide fireplace with room for seats on either 
side, and on looking up you can see right to the 
chimney top. Hams, and bundles of dried herbs, 
garden thyme, sweet marjoram and rosemary 
hang suspended from the ceiling. The wood is 
wet and rather green ; the only result of Thyrza^s 
labours for some time is a little smoke. She 
makes vigorous use of the bellows, when a tiny 
spark appears, only to be quenched by the 
smouldering kindling. 

Ferrier smiles at this conclusion to Thyrza's 
efforts. Nothing daunted, she tries again, and 
this time with better success, and a steady flame 
shoots up, on the top of which she places a large 
iron kettle. Ferrier rises to lift this for her, 
fearing it is too heavy for her slender wrist, but 
she carries her point triumphantly without spill- 
ing a single drop of water. Then she examines 
the pantry, and finds a basket ot strawberries 
intended by Cecilia to be converted into jam, on 
which she lays violent hands, and sends the 
twins out to the garden to gather strawberry 
leaves with which to ornament the fruit, and 



24 BROWN AS A BEREY. 

onions for a cucumber, which she peels and cuts 
up. 

'' Is monsieur going to stay here V' she asks, 
abruptly, pinning her sleeves up above her brown 
shapely elbows, and fastening a large white apron 
over the front of her dress. 

^' Where shall I go if I leave you ?" he an- 
swers, gently. " Do you wish me to sit by myself 
in the dining-room T' 

" No. monsieur,^^ she returns ; mixing some 
oatmeal and water together, and kneading it into 
cakes, she puts them to bake at the fire. 

" Because if you did,-'-' Terrier goes on, in his 
ordinary manner, ^'^you will be disappointed. I 
am going to stay here and see you spoil the 
omelette.^^ 

'^ You will not realize your hope,^^ she replies, 
reversing the oat cakes and lifting the kettle to 
poke the fire. A shower of sparks fly out from 
a partially consumed piece of peat as she stirs 
the embers. " Look at the witches dying, mon- 
sieur \" 

" Witches, where ? I only see one witch, 
mademoiselle.^^ 

" Monsieur only pays compliments to people 
he dislikes,'^ says she. 

" Sometimes it is the other way on. We 
used to call the sparks the parson and the con- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 25 

gregation going out of clmrcli. Whicli do you 
bet will be the last T' 

" Teacbing me to bet V sbe exclaims, eleva- 
ting ber eyebrows with pretended borror. ^^ Is 
not tbat a very fast proceeding V^ 

" I see your compatriots, tbe witches, have 
taught you impudence," he responds. "That 
kettle won^t boil between this and Christmas/* 

'^ Then it is sure to boil, for if one has only 
patience to wait, Christmas is certain to come." 

^^ Let me set the fire to rights for you. Those 
fingers of yours were never made to do anVthing 
useful. They were intended for embroidery and 
other feminine frivolities for wasting time. It 
is odd you ladies always keep the oxygen from 
the fire by poking it from the top. 

" Thank you,^' says Thyrza. " Now I am 
going to make the omelette. I reserved it until 
the last moment." 

She breaks six eggs into a basin, beats 
them up with a few grains of salt, adds a table- 
spoonful of lump sugar, grates some nutmeg 
and lemon-peel with some spices and butter, 
mixes the whole together, and pours it into the 
frying-pan, in which she has previously placed 
some butter. She stirs it with a fork until it 
begins to harden, then turns it up at the edges 
thai it may not stick to the pan, and lets 



26 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

it fry until she thinks one side is sufficiently 
done. 

"■ How are you going to turn it ?'' asks 
Ferrier. 

" This way, monsieur." Laying a plate over the 
omelette, she lifts the pan upside-down and 
shifts the omelette carefully off the plate into 
the pan again. 

" You do not let the grass grow under your 
feet, that is one thing," says Ferrier, eyeing her 
quick, light movements with admiration when- 
ever he thinks she is not looking. While the 
other side of the omelette is frying, she runs to 
the pantry for a tray and the tea-things, taking 
a glance every now and again to see how it is 
browning. 

" Put some warm water in the tea-pot first to 
heat it. In China the tea is kept hot all day 
over a spirit lamp. They do not drink it nearly 
so strong out there as we do in England. What 
a nice little wife you will make some day for 
some lucky chap." 

" Stuff !" returns Tliyrza, rosy from Ferrier's 
words and her cooking operations, and dishing 
up the omelette, which has turned out perfection. 
" I am going to be an old maid." 

^^ Oh, young ladies always say that, while 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 27 

meaning the contrary. Davie, just look who 
Wasp is worrying/^ 

'' Two tinkers/' replies Davie. 

" Oh, give them this old loaf/^ says Thyrza. 
*^ ^lay I, monsieur ?'' 

Terrier nods in token of acquiescence. 

" Monsieur, will you come, please ; the ome- 
lette ought to be eaten at once.^^ 

As they go out at the kitchen-door, Thyrza 
carrying the dish with the omelette, the tinkers, 
two little bare legged, ragged children^ look at 
Thyrza and Jack. 

" Eh, Tarn," remarks the small girl to her 
shock headed brother — " Eh, Tam ; I wad like 
fine to see they twa kiss ane anither V 

Says Terrier to Thyrza, ^^ Mademoiselle, shall 
we gratify the child^s wish ?'' 

" Oh, monsieui', I did not hear what they 
said,^^ replies Thyrza, demurely, knowing well all 
the time the context of the observation. 

" David said in his haste, all men are liars ; 
he might have taken his time over the fact that 
no woman ever speaks the truth. I suppose it 
is more difficult for them, because they have 
neither the pluck nor the courage of men/' 

" For my part,'' says Thyrza, from the head 
of the table, " I think it is rather nice to tell 



28 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

fibs ! Saves one so mucli trouble^ you know. 
Davie_, don^t dry your sticky fingers on your 
velvet jacket/^ 

" After that confession/' returns Jack^ " I 
have quite finished with you^ mademoiselle/' 

Thyrza has set out a unique, if not a fashion- 
able tea. Strawberries,, heaped on pink cockle- 
shell-shaped dishes, garnished with their own 
leaves; a cucumber sliced like wafers, accom- 
panied with onions ; some pickled herrings ; 
heather honey in an amber glass bee-hive ; piles 
of oat cakes, hot from the baking ; the omelette, 
and a jug of cream, with home-made bread, form 
the repast. A carved oak goblet stands in the 
centre, filled with wild flowers and '' wind-sown 
grasses '' and ferns. 

The sun is well to the west, the smoke from 
the cottages at the village curls up hazy and 
luminous, a herring-boat with a lighted brazier 
on board gleams in the distance, the waves below 
the rugged cliflPs are dashing over the stake 
salmon nets, rippling and tossing on the rocks, 
and the foam on the sand-bar flushes into burn- 
ished sheens of crimson light. 

'^ Do you like Miss Rutherfurd, Uncle Jack ?" 
inquires Rosie, in an indistinct voice, her mouth 
being filled with strawberries. 

^^ Politeness compels me to answer yes,'' re- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 29 

plies Ferrier^ with discretion. " Whether I 
think so or no in reality is my own affair/' 

" But do you think she is good-looking ?" 
continues Rosie. 

'* I don't know/' says Jack. *' Mademoiselle, 
will you kindly turn your face my way for a 
moment ? This is a delicate question^ Rosie.^' 

" Well,, monsieur V inquires Thyrza. 

" Am I to describe you V he says, gravely. 

Thyrza's eyes give consent, 

" Item, one head of plentiful but not smooth 
hair/' he continues ; " item, one mouth with 
two lips, indifferent red ; item, a brown skin ; 
item, a pair of eyes — of what colour T' 

" I don't know," responds Thyrza. 

" Nor do I. Green ? Brown ? No. I never 
saw such strange eyes. They are not the same 
tint for two consecutive minutes ; they change 
with every light. With that dark complexion you 
should have had black optics. Did you ever read 
Olivia's description of herself in Twelfth Night ?" 

" No, but I have read Byron." 

" ' Don Juan ?' " 

'^ No. Miss Holt had cut it out of the book, 
so I could not. Is it nice ?" 
" Sensible woman." 

" Has monsieur enjoyed his tea ?" says 
Thyrza. 



30 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^' I Lave tasted better omelettes/^ he answers, 
cruelly. " Ones, you know, whicli were not 
burnt/' 

Thyrza looks vexed and disappointed. One 
word of praise from Terrier is wortb all the 
civilities of Mark and Mr. Dods, and every other 
man and specimen of human being combined and 
put in a heap. He has seen so much, is so 
clever, so fastidious, so difficult to please. 

" Well, mademoiselle, I will pay you one real 
compliment,^' pursues Jack, unable longer to 
resist the pleasure of seeing Thyrza's face light 
up under his approbation, as he has learned it 
will do when he wishes. " When you made that 
omelette you knew what you were about. Go 
on and prosper. You will be an acquisition 
when some one takes it into his head to look 
after you.'' 

" You did not say that only to flatter me ?'' 
replies Thyrza, the colour spreading over her 
generally pale, clear brown cheeks. 

" Not I. I mean it. Indeed, I really think 
we will give Mrs. Rattray and Company a holiday 
ad infinitum." 

Of course he can never marry her. It would 
be sheer, utter, complete madness. He will 
have as much as he can do for years to come 
to keep his head above water, instead of think- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 31 

ing of turning Benedict. His fatlier^s affairs 
will swallow all tlie little money lie has tried 
to save during the past few years from hia 
business in Shanghai; whatever provision is 
made for his invalid mother must be made by 
him and come out of his income ; part of which 
will have to go also towards paying for those 
high-stepping horses,, those first-class wines^ 
those now departed splendours and glories which 
had held revel and riot at Carmylie in old Mr. 
Ferrier^s reign. If all had been as Jack had 
expected to find it^ here was his future wife. 
Now, it is out of the question ; she will marry 
Mark. 

'^'And now, mademoiselle, what shall we do 
with ourselves for the next few hours — croquet^ 
or a walk ?" 

" Oh, a walk/^ says Thyrza. 

" Where ? Choose while you can ; I am not 
always in a mood to do what I am bid.^^ 

" The Chapelton Wood.'' 
. " Then let us be going. There is no night 
just now. One can see to read at 11 p.m. 
We won't go home till morning, when daylight 
doth appear." 



CHAPTER II. 

T is drawing on towards sundown. The 
god of day is gradually sinking behind 
the Witches Law. The shadows grow longer and 
fall darker up the narrow valley; the rugged 
shoulder of the Law is wrapped in gloom ; above 
the sun is shining in full glory. In the steep 
gorges and over the sea^ a slight mist lies. The 
yellow light catches it for an instant, glinting 
through its dun folds like the glimmer of an opal 
in a lamp, just touching the crests of the great 
black forests with flame, giving a faint sheen to 
the water eddying round the dulse rocks. 

Two or three broad golden bands of light fall 
slanting on the tufts of moss ; the little heaps of 
last year's fir needles ; the empty red beech masts, 
striking full on the grey trunks of the nearer 
trees, gleaming with a dim subdued radiance 
among the sombre shadowy vista of the long 
aisles of rough barked stems, while the cooing of 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 33 

the wood-doves mingles with the sighing of the 
western wind through the waving pine branches. 

" Where shall you be this time next year, 
mademoiselle V asks Ferrier, settling himself 
luxuriously at Thyrza's feet on the mossy turf 
where he can obtain a good view of her coun- 
tenance. 

" With Mrs. Napier, most likely, living the 
same sort of life you see me do now." 

" And I shall be thousands of miles away by 
another July, in China, trying to make my for- 
tune. Shall you ever think of that stupid 
fellow. Jack Terrier, who said such rude things 
to you ?" 

"Perhaps I shall, and perhaps I shan't,''^ says 
Thyrza, dreamily. 

" Rosie,-'' calls Jack, " Til give you and Davie 
as much chocolate as you can cram the next time 
I go into Queensmuir, if you can find me a 
blackbird^s nest." 

The twins are delighted at the prospect, and 
depart with Wasp, ignorant of the fact black- 
birds as a rule do not build in July. Jack 
stretches himself out at full length, his arms 
above his head ; and in so doing, Thyrza, for the 
first time, notices a scar on his large white hand. 

"Monsieur has hurt himself?" she asks. 

" No, that is an old afi'air. I got it when not 

VOL. II. 3 



34 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

much older tlian Davie. My father had bought 
some new sort of poultry, of which he was very 
proud. Just before I came home for the holi- 
days, William — that was my brother — Ah ! you 
should have known him, poor fellow ; he was a 
good man — brought a school friend back with 
him. There were four of us, I recollect, for 
Mark was with us. Well, in some mysterious 
manner these poultry were all found dead one 
day. Suspicion fell on me. My father said I 
might as well acknowledge I had told a lie, but 
I would not ; and happening to have a bad 
chilblain, it got broken. ^^ 

" How T' says Thyrza. 

« Very easily indeed, by the caning I got. 
It was long enough before it healed.^^ 

" But, monsieur, it was horrible to be struck 
like a dog ! Like an animal !" she exclaims, 
indignantly. 

" Not a bit ; and though I did not deserve it 
for that, I daresay I did for something else. I 
don^t believe in bringing up boys with a feather. 
There is nothing like a public school. It shar- 
pens the wits ; makes the best and most 
honourable men ; and teaches lads the quality 
of endurance. I know I have blessed my school- 
days in many ways.^-* 

•' Still I tliink it was cruel of your father.^' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 35 

^^ Noj it was not. He believed I was telling 
a lie. And lie was a very good father to us — a 
regular brick. He lived too fast, it is true ; but 
I donH care. The place is odd without him. I 
was such a wild lad, and used always to want to 
break something, or kill something. Many a 
time I gave a boy sixpence to stand up and fight ; 
and if he would not^ but he generally would, I had 
a go at the panels of a door. What a time ago 
it seems since Mark and I were at school toge- 
ther V pursues Terrier, reflectively. '^ The only 
honourable thing I ever did was when Mark got 
into a row. We had been up in the belfry, and 
Mark tied the bell-rope round the neck of a 
small boy and swung him up. We nearly sent 
him up too high, and got him down in a hurry. 
He had an awful mark round his neck. Luke 
gave him a shilling not to tell, and he was sent 
down to the hospital. The matter leaked out, and 
the masters wanted to know who had done it, 
and set upon me, being a young one, to ferret 
out the truth. I got no end of a licking, but I 
never said a word, and it was never known who 
nearly hanged Jim Smith." 

'^ That is exactly what I should have known 
you would do," says Thyrza, her soul in her 
hazel eyes. 

" I am going to tell you a story. Mademoiselle 

3—2 



36 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Thyrza, if you have the patience to hear 

" Is it a long one ?" 

" Hum ! Well, yes. It is not what you 
would call a nice story ; but it is a true one.^' 

Thyrza pauses to listen — all attention. The 
tranquil sea smiles in answer to the wind^s soft 
kisses ; the bees buzz homewards to their hives 
among the heather^ with the fruit of their day^s 
pleasant labour among the flowers ; a lark goes 
singing up to heaven^s gate_, cleaving its way 
through the clear ether^ trilling joyously as it 
nears the golden stairs where the white-robed 
angels wait to welcome the souls of the redeemed, 
the strains floating earthwards as it soars higher — 
higher and higher^ until it seems a tiny speck ; 
then resting on its wings it glides down,, falling at 
last as if shot dead^ on a spray of white clover. 

" 111 begin as I hear you do when you tell the 
children fairy tales. Once upon a time there were 
two friends called — invent their names for me. 
My imagination is not brilliant^ called what V 

^' Are they men or women V' 

" Men.'' 

'' Tom and Harry.'' 

" Very well. Once upon a time there were 
two friends called Tom and Harry. They really 
lived, but I do not want to tell you their proper 



BROWN AS A BERRY, 37 

names at present. I shall get into tlie swing of 
the narrative directly. Tom was a reckless ne'er- 
do-well ; but Harry was a good fellow, steady as 
old Time. In due course when they grew up a 
bit_, the question came what profession they 
should adopt. And Harry whose relations were 
wealthy got him an excellent situation in a large 
firm in Shanghai. Tom, who was some years 
younger,, remained at home kicking his heels 
about with nothing to do, his people not being 
able to afford much more money on his educa- 
tion. He was not a favourite at home, and got 
lots of monkey's allowance/' 

'•' What ?' interrupts Thyrza. 

" More kicks than halfpence. About this 
time Tom's father came into a fortune, and 
having no great opinion of his younger son, gave 
him j8300 and shipped him off to Shanghai. Up 
to this period of his life Tom had done nothing 
worse than climb to the roof of the house and 
shy marbles down into the fireplace, which 
exploded with a noise like thunder, to the terror 
of anyone who chanced to be sitting in the 
drawing-room. Tom found himself his own 
master at eighteen with no employment, and 
meeting Harry, who was prospering, made ducks 
and drakes of the £300 as quickly as h e con- 
veniently could. Harry interested himself in 



38 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

his friend^s behalf and got him into a bank of 
which the business soon began to increase rapidly. 
Well, in fairy tales, after a time, a princess 
always comes on the scene, and so, sure enough, 
when Tom and Harry had been two years in 
Shanghai, a princess did arrive upon the stage 
with a vengeance. You are following me, 
mademoiselle T' 

" Yes, monsieur." 

" I am trying to tell you the facts as shortly 
as I can.^' 

^' Tom fell in love with the princess T' 

^' Pre-cise-ly, he did/' 

" Was the princess beautiful V^ 

'^ By Jove ! that she was. I never saw the 
woman yet who could come near her in the way 
of looks ; her face and figure were simply per- 
fection. '^ 

" And monsieur loved her \" says Thyrza, a 
slight tinge of bitterness in her sweet-toned voice. 
" For Tom was monsieur, was it not so T' 

" You're right,''^ replies Terrier ; " but I did 
not mean you to have guessed so soon. It came 
easier to talk to you about myself under another 
name. However, as you have found it out, I will 
go on. I did love her with a sort of blind 
infatuation. She was the sort of woman whom 
one never stopped to think whether she was good 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 39 

or bad. She was like a draught of that fiery- 
stuff they drink in India which turns your brain 
and your senses in a moment/' 

*^ Where did you first see her?''' asks Thyrza, 
feeling jealous of this woman who had been 
Terrier's love when she herself was a mere child. 

'' At a marriage in Shanghai. There had 
been tremendous rains, and the streets were 
flooded. We went to the marriage in boats, and 
Mark and I rowed up the aisles of the church in 
a sort of junk. She was one of the bridesmaids. 
The boat with the happy couple nearly upset 
returning from the altar,* and Lilith laughed as 
she passed us in that containing the bridesmaids.' 

'' Lilith !" repeats Thyrza, in a constrained 
voice, '' Lilith !" 

'^ Yes, Lilith. Rum name, is it not ? I believe 
it was the name of Adam's first wife. The 
Persians imagine Adam had two wives, from that 
text in Genesis, ^ male and female created he 
them,' and then afterwards comes the mention 
of Eve. They think that Lilith and Adam 
quarrelled, and Lilith was transformed for her bad 
behaviour into the serpent which tempted Eve, 
and in Eve's downfall revenged herself upon all 
mankind for her ignominious transmogrification." 



* This actually occurred. 



40 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Well^ monsieur/^ 

*' I shall never forget what I felt when I saw 
her face, and I cdlled out to Mark_, it was a very- 
strong expression I made use of — ^ Painted, by 
G — ! ' ' And by no one else/ she answered, as 
the boat paddled out of the church. I never 
rested until I got an introduction to her, for 
I was completely dazzled, and was capable of 
executing any tomfoolery she liked to ask me to 
do." 

*' What was her other name ?'* 

" 1 never knew her by any other than Lilith. 
She lived alone in a little back street in Shanghai, 
and was employed, I never knew how, at least 
I cannot tell ; well, never mind. It is sufficient 
that I was crazy on the subject of Lilith.''^ 

" Monsieur has not forgotten her yet,^-* observes 
Thyrza, trying to sneer. 

" Ah ! a deal of respect I had for her by the 
lime I had done with her V says Terrier, through 
his black moustache. " The real, riyht, and 
lasting kind of love is that which is founded on 
respect. It may sound rather cold, but it is the 
truth. A man may have a sort of liking for a 
woman, but unless it has an element of respect in it 
he will never marry her. And when Lilith and 
I wound up our accounts for good and ever. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 41 

there was precious little of esteem or anything 
else left behind/^ 

" Did you ask her to marry you T' 

" Oh, to be sure ; heaps of times. '^ 

" And she accepted you V' 

" Yes, and we were within an ace of being 
spliced. She fooled me to the top of my bent, 
promised to marry me, and made me the laugh- 
ing-stock of Shanghai. I owe Madame Lilith 
one for that yet.^^ 

" Don^t you forgive, monsieur ?'' 

" No, it is not in the nature of the beast. Well ; 
we settled to be married on a certain day. She 
got me to take a house for her on the Yang- 
tse-Kiang — the very one Mark and I lived in 
afterwards — and furnish it in Al style. She per- 
suaded me to give her a set of the finest diamonds 
in Shanghai, besides getting almost every penny 
of ready money I possessed in the world. To 
give her all these things I was forced to borrow 
from my friends and got no end into debt. How 
I was ever to pay for these things never entered 
my head ; all I thought of was Lilith. I re- 
member the night before our wedding-day ; she 
laughed and talked with me, and called me a 
silly boy, which I Avas. She was five years older 
than me. Well, I never saw her again. I went 



42 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

to the church and waited, and waited, and waited. 
She did not come. I rushed to the house where 
she had lived. It was shut up and locked. Not 
a creature in the place. I was like one pos- 
sessed, tearing about Shanghai. No one could 
give me any information. There was only 
one thing plain — that Lilith was gone. It 
took me hours to realize that she had duped 
me ; to understand that the woman whom I 
had so idolized had merely made a cat^s-paw 
of me to assist her in higher games. I think 
I should have blown my brains out had I not 
recollected my poor old mother in England would 
hear of it — she was always fond of me — and after 
wandering about like a demented being I sat 
down and cried. Eemember, mademoiselle, I 
was but a lad. It would take something now to 
make me shed a tear.^^ 

'' And Mr. Mark T' says Thyrza, thinking of 
the name of Mark^s wife. 

^' Oh, Mark never liked Lilith, nor had any- 
thing to do with her. He had gone to the island 
of Formosa when this happened. We afterwards 
traced her there, curiously enough, and she was 
accompanied by a gentleman.^^ 

" Did you ever find out the name of the man 
for whom she forsook you T' 

" No, never. At first, if I could have found 



BROWN AS A BEllRY. 43 

thenij I would have sliot botli him and Lilith dead 
and myself afterwards. But it is nearly ten 
years ago now, and instead of being angry with 
my successor — I daresay he has had fifty since — 
if I met him I would give him a handsome present 
for saving me from what must be dreadful misery, 
tied to a woman whom one could neither love 
nor respect. It was a hard and sharp lesson, 
but it did me good. Once bit, twice shy. I have 
not been deceived since/^ 

" But Mr. Mark,^-* exclaims Thyrza, "I wonder 
how he could.^^ 

" How, what do you mean 1'^ 

" I don^t mean anything, at least, oh, I don^t 
know.^' 

'' What do you mean about Mark,^^ asks 
Terrier, elevating himself on his elbow. 

Thyrza, put in a corner, tries to return to the 
former subject. 

" It won^t do,^^ says Ferrier, '^ you are throw- 
ing dust in my eyes.^'' 

" Indeed, I am not," she stammers, wishing 
Mark had found some other confidante for his 
secret, or that she had never overheard his excla- 
mation. Terrier looks long and steadfastly at 
her, but does not press the point further, and 
continues the history of his life. 

^' So far, I had done nothing to be ashamed 



44 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

of; but now comes a time when I went in for 
going the pace. After I found Lilith had de- 
serted me^ I went down to the harbour. There 
was a steamer putting off for San Francisco. I 
had about ten pounds in my pockety which had 
escaped Lilith. Lord ! how that woman loved 
gold ! She worshipped it and gloated over it. 
I wanted to keep this until I got to Frisco, as 
the Californians call it, so I offered to work my 
passage over. The captain hummed a bit, but 
said all right, if I chose to sleep in the steerage. 
AVell, that part of the voyage was not enjoyable. 
We landed at Frisco with a whole lot of Chinese 
emigrants, who were going there in search of 
work. The first thing I did at night was to 
go and fight the tiger/' 

" Were you not afraid T' says Thyrza, opening 
her eyes very wide. 

" Oh, it's not that sort of tiger ; it^s a 
slang Californian phrase for gambling. In the 
rooms set apart for play there is a big head 
of a tiger, with glaring eyes, and grinning 
teeth, painted life size. I was longing to do 
something wicked ; my blood was all on fire, and 
I determined I would have a short life and a 
merry one. I won that night and lots of nights 
afterwards. My word ! I did go it ! What 1 
won at night I spent in the day. At last I was 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 45 

known by the sobriquet of Dare-devil- Jack. 
One nigbt a Spaniard descended from a thousand 
hidalgos declared I cheated^ for my luck was 
proverbial, and whipped out a nasty -looking 
knife ; to defend myself I drew my revolver 
from my belt. Unluckily, it went off, and the 
contents of one barrel lodged itself in his knee, 
inflicting of course exquisite pain. The by- 
standers in the billiard-room attacked me and 
dragged me off to prison, and I afterwards went 
through the farce of a trial.^^ 

" Oh, monsieur V^ exclaims Thyrza, trembling 
with excitement. 

" Well, I did not quite see the force of being 
hanged if I could get off, so when the moment 
came I made a dash among the crowd and was 
knocked down. The next thing I remember is 
being in the room of a Chinaman in the Chinese 
quarter of the town, more odoriferous than holy, 
and strong with exhalations and smoke of opium. 
A Chinaman whom I had rescued from some ill- 
treatment had saved my life. He kept me 
hidden for several weeks, and then I set off with 
a party of trappers to the Eocky Mountains to 
collect skins. My stock of possessions consisted 
of the garments I stood in, a rifle, and a powder- 
flask. My cash had been confiscated while I 
was in prison — I suppose by the officials^ who 



46 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

make a good thing out of any street row. But 
matters did not flourisli, and I came back to 
Frisco no richer than I left." 

<c "VVere you not afraid of meeting the Spaniard 
again V 

" In the meantime he had been gathered to 
his fathers by the interference of a warm tem- 
pered Southerner with a bowie-knife, who had a 
little difference with him. I tried the perilous 
and fascinating game of " poker/' and fought the 
*' tiger" once more, but with no luck. From bad, 
things went to worse. Mind, I don^t excuse or 
extenuate myself for my conduct, When a man 
in the full possession of his faculties deliberately 
goes to the bad, he deserves anything he may 
get. I don^t say that I was quite sane when I 
left Shanghai after the crisis came with Lilith ; 
indeed, I was in a measure mad during the 
T^hole affair. I must have been so to imagine in 
sober earnest that a woman of her attractions 
would seriously think of marrying a boy of 
twenty who had no shadow of expectations. I 
ought to have borne up like a man instead of 
being reckless and throwing away everything." , 

" Well, monsieur " 

" I could get nothing to do ; at least, I could 
have been a lemonade-seller or something of that 
kind, or if I had had a few pounds I could have 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 47 

bought some mining shares^ there are few Cali- 
fornians who have not some to sell ; but I did 
not fancy the lemonade business, and I had no 
money. I was no hand at composition or I 
might have written articles for a newspaper, as 
many fellows do. I was walking on the quay 
looking at the light shining on the Golden Gates 
and listening to the sea-lions roaring, when all 
of a sudden my legs gave way under me and I 
fell down in a faint.''^ 

" And then V 

" I awoke to see Mark^s face bending over me. 
He had paid all I owed in Shanghai, Lilith^s 
diamonds too, and what I borrowed for the 
house, and he had come across to see what I 
was doing, and picked me up on the quay. 
Of course the situation in the bank had been 
long since filled up ; but Mark offered me a 
clerkship in his business, and when I got well 
enough we went to live in the house up the 
Yang-tse-Kiaug, where the furniture I had 
bought for Lilith was just as I had arranged it. 
Things began to mend ; I worked hard and paid 
Mark back the money I owed him and after a 
couple of years we entered into partnership. So 
you see, mademoiselle, why I do not believe in 
women and think a true friend the best gift in 
the world.^^ 



48 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^' Oh, Uncle Jack, Uncle Jack, there's a big 
dog killing Wasp V screams Rosie, running up 
to Ferrier. 

" Whose dog ?' 

" Peter Gow's/' 

" The poacher V^ says Terrier, raising himself 
up and springing to his feet. " Where is he ?" 

They hurry along the little path on which the 
knotty roots of the pine trees protrude cross ways, 
polished by the friction of the feet of many 
generations, through the clearing to the darker 
part of the wood from whence the sunshine has 
long since faded. Wasp is evidently in a bad 
way, half strangled by the poacher's retriever, 
whom to speak truthfully, Wasp has excited to 
the fray. Gow calls off his dog on the approach 
of Ferrier, and W^asp arises not much hurt and 
ready to fight his battles over again. 

" What business have you here ?''' says Ferrier, 
observing a couple of hares and some rabbits 
sticking out of a game-bag on Gow's back, with 
the steel muzzle of a gun shining in the clear 
light under his arm. 

" As muckle business as you hae/' is the surly 
reply. 

" Whose game have you been shooting — yours 
or mine V 

" I dinna ken, and fat's mair, I dinna care.'' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 49 

"Now, 1^11 tell you what it is," continues 
Jackj speaking in the low, quiet voice peculiar 
to him when angry or put out, ^' Vl\ give you 
one more chance. You lay down that game 
and I shall let you off for poaching this 
time.'' 

" Fat*s your wull ?" asks Gow, pretending not 
to have heard. " I am a puir man wi' a lairge 
family and ye'll never miss a hare or twa." 

'^ I'll give you one more chance/' repeats Jack. 
" If you don't lay down that game at once it will 
be the worse for you." 

Gow hesitates, looks at his own muscular 
frame, contrasts it with Jack's more slender 
build, and thinks that though minus one hand, 
if it came to a matter of bodily strength he 
would be victorious. 

'^ril do naething o' the kind," he returns, 
marching off. 

" But you shall or I will see who prevents 
it," pursues Jack, intercepting his progress. 

" Oh, monsieur, let him take them this once, 
he is so poor," begs Thyrza. 

" Come awa'. Dandy, my man," says Gow to 
his dog. 

" Will you give up that game or take the 
consequences ?" asks Jack, once more, still 
without any outward symptoms of anger. 

VOL. II. 4 



50 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Gow sees Ferrier is thoroughly in earnest^ and 
although aware that if he is arrested for poaching 
he will have the sympathies of the populace, he 
knows that the landed proprietors, who would be 
his judges, would hardly view it in the same 
light ; besides, although poor, his family have 
always been noted for their respectability, and 
for the sake of a few hares and rabbits one^s 
good name and fair fame seems a heavy price to 
pay. The Scotch peasants set as much store 
upon the dignity of their families as any High- 
land laird encircled with the halo of innumerable 
deceased chieftains in the dark ages, or the 
Austrian nobles who must have eight aristocratic 
descents on each side before they can be admitted 
at court. 

" I shall not ask you again,^' says Jack. 

It is hard upon Gow, and grates sorely against 
his grain ; still it is better than having three 
months^ hard labour and his hair cut close to his 
head like a returned convict^s ; so he takes the 
hares and rabbits from the bag, pitches them on 
the ground, muttering — 

" Tak' them and be d d to you V^ and he 

moves away through the woodland glade into the 
shady depths of the solemn pines, followed by 
his dog. He pauses on his heel to call out 
insolently— 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 51 

'' I hope the hares will taste gude. How will 
ye cook them, laird ? Roast or in soup r 

''He has got his temper slightly ruffled '^ 
remarks Ferrier, laughing, looking after Go J^s 
departing figure in the tvnlight. ^^ If this had 
been California I should have said, by the look 
of his eyes, that there was mischief brewing, and 
that I should hear from him again, but in this 
civilized well-regulated kingdom of Scotland I 
suppose nothing further will occur. If I catch 
him skulking in my woods, poaching again, 1 will 
have him made an example of to all the poaching 
community." 

"^ You are a Lard judge/' says Thyrza. 

" But, I hope, a just one, and you know I let 
him oflf now with the loss of the hares. What 
a splendid evening it is .'-almost a profanation to 
smoke, is it not ?" 

The night is divine. The moon, " sweet regent 
of the sky," seems to float in liquid light; its 
beams drip silver on the wild hills and the brown 
heathery deserts of moorland which stand round 
about grim, grey Carmylie; the dark waters of 
the sea are saturated in its soft radiance. The 
scarped jagged cliffs of S. Philip's, on the oppo- 
site side of the bay, cut clear against the deep 
blue Midsummer horizon. Long, cool, black 
shadows he spread over the fresh green cornfields 

LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF lULINOIS 



52 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

where the corn-crake, couched under the growing 
grain, is creaking his harsh disjointed note ; and 
the outlines of the house show cold, serene, and 
lone, and the wind soughs with melancholy 
cadence through the cone-laden pine tree tops, 
converting the shimmering ripples into one 
fretted shivering veil of light. The lamps at 
a steamer^s head, just entering the passage 
within the sand-bar, shine tawny red ; away in 
the north the sky is a soft golden emerald, with 
a few streaks of dark vapoury rifts of clouds 
scudding across it, and the scent of new mown 
hay comes on the breeze from a field behind 
Carmylie. 

" I want to know if you think a man who has 
sinned as I have, could have any hope of gaining 
the right sort of love if he met a girl who would 
overlook and forgive his faults ?' 

" You have been more sinned against than 
sinning,^' replies Thyrza, and in the pearly sheen 
of the moonlight he can see the look of devotion 
which comes into her earnest expressive eyes. 

cc Little dar , I mean, mademoiselle, I 

believe you are so tender hearted that if you 
found the devil himself lying sick and ill in 
a ditch you would try to do him a kind turn. 
You should have been cast in a different mould 
as you have got to fight for yourself." 



9 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 53 

" Monsieur would never do what he has done 
again ?" she asks. " He is sorry, is he not ?" 

" Why no/' with a sigh, " not all ; but there 
were some glorious hours among them too. This 
fir wood reminds me how I once kept watch by a 
fire in the middle of a pine forest near the Rocky 
Mountains while the rest of the men slept, and 
I gradually dozed and thought I was back at the 
old place in England. It was Sunday morning 
and I could hear the chimes of Marshley Church 
ringing as distinctly as I ever heard them in my 
life. Mother and I went to church, I saw 
the parson come from the vestry in his white 
surplice ; I heard him read, ^ Dearly beloved 
brethren,' presently the Venite was sung, and 
then I woke up with a start. I had been reading 
a bit of newspaper which I had taken care of in 
my pocket-book because the names of some of 
the dear old places were printed on it. Many 
and many a time I read them over, though they 
were only advertisements of sales to be held there. 
As I said I woke up with a start, to find some- 
thing lying on my chest, and a hot foetid breath 
blowing on my cheeks. It was an animal of 
some description which was digging its claws 
into my arm, and in case of its turning its 
attention to my throat I let it so continue while 
I fumbled under its heavy body for a certain 



54 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

knife without whicli I never went anywhere,, and 
drawing it out^ drove it home in the neatest 
possible way. It rolled over quite quietly, and 
by the watch-fire I saw it was a big wolf." 

'' Did you not call out to your friends ?'' 

'' It was not worth while, but I kept wide 
awake for the rest of the night. I am going 
away to-morrow, mademoiselle.''^ 

(f Why ?'' says Thyrza, with unfeigned disap- 
pointment in face and voice. 

" Because it would not be right for me to 
stay. But of course you will not miss me.''"' 

''^ Shall you be long away?" inquires Thyrza, 
blankly. '' Oh, it will be dreadfully dull." 

" All the same, I 7rwst go," he says. " How- 
ever, I will leave you plenty of employment to 
keep you alive. You have brushed up your 
arithmetic nicely ; the big books will compensate 
for my absence." 

'^ No, they will not,^'' she replies, unconscious 
of the meaning Ferrier may choose to attach to 
her words. " Why must you go away ?" 

" Because, if you must know, if I stay any 
longer with you here alone I shall fall in love 
with you. I shanH be able to help myself, and 
it would be about the worst thing that could 
happen ; don^t you think so ?" 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 55 

" Noj monsieur^ I donH agree with you/^ 
answered Thyrza, honestly and candidly. 

^^It would though. If I were a rich man it 
would be different ; in fact — well — it is of no use 
talking, I am not, and there is an end of it. 
I have tried to tell you I have not been a saint ; 
but I don't suppose you understood the half of 
what I said. I never shall again lead the life 
I did in California, and indeed I have not for 
the last eight years. For one thing I have lost 
all inclination for it, and another reason is, I now 
see things in their true light.'' 

" Mais, monsieur " 

" Well, you are very young and cannot know 
your own mind, and have seen nothing of the 
world yet. If your father and mother were 
alive they would not let you have anything to 
do with me. And I know it would be only a 
just sentence. As they are not alive I don't 

think it would be fair or honourable to " he 

pauses. ^' I never meant to tell you this, but 
it has slipped out." 

'^ As it has, do go on, monsieur," entreats 
Thyrza, eagerly, leaning against the old lichen- 
covered sundial, on which some pleasure-loving 
Campbell has inscribed the words, " I number 
not the hours unless sunny !" 



56 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

*' I dare not/^ he answers. 

" Why not V cries Thyrza^ persuasively. He 
does not reply and there is a long silence^ save 
the beating of their two hearts, and the mute 
conversation carried on between his eyes and 
hers. Neither he nor she moves. A bat flies 
by, knocking against the unlighted school- 
room window. He is standing in the shadow, 
she in the full clear rays of the moon, with her 
hand resting on the broken sundial. The tide 
has turned and is coming in again. Down 
below, headland after headland, promontory and 
rock, the kirk steeple and the roofs of the fishing 
village, where Mr. Dods is sleeping the sleep of 
the just, are drenched in the pale brilliance and 
covered with silver. 

" It would be too great a sacrifice for you/' 
he breaks in presently. " Even if I were rich, 
and you loved me, I should not think of asking 
you. Just let me think for a moment how it 
might have been. You are such a dear little 
thing, the sort of girl a fellow would work day 
and night for ; the sort of girl to whom one 
would come when matters went wroag, and be 
sure of being kindly received; the sort of girl 
who would be the light and joy of his home, 
and would keep him steady and be his salvation.^' 

" Oh, monsieur V exclaims she, scarcely able 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 57 

to credit the evidence of her own ears. " Is it 
really you who are saying all these beautiful 
things of me ? Why, I thought you considered 
me vain_, silly, frivolous, and foolish/^ 

*' It is true enough/^ he replies. " But it is 
one of those dreams which can never come to 
pass. You ought to have a good husband, like 
Mark, good in every sense of the word ; and I 
hope you will get him, not a man like me whose 
fortunes are fluctuating and unsettled." 

" I shall have done it in another minute if I 
don^t look out," he says to himself. It would 
be so easy to go a little further, taste the riches 
of the sweet mouth, and hear the shy trembling 
voice call him Jack. But this is not for him, 
and he must resist it. No woman^s lips will 
ever kiss his now with the kiss of a wife^s love ! 
No children will sit at his table and call him 
father ! These domestic pleasures cannot be his. 
He considers it would be a mean dastardly act 
to take advantage of the girl, unprotected as she 
is, and ask her for the gift of her love when he 
knows very well he cannot marry her. Faalty 
though he may be, and by his own account with 
no pretensions to the title of a good man, he is 
far too generous and honourable to play fast-and- 
loose with her, or trifle with her warm deep 
feelings, when he is aware she has no father or 



58 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

big brother to say him nay^ or defend ber in any 
way whatsoever. It is her very unprotectedness, 
her simple confidence^ and trust in him which 
appeal so powerfully and effectively to his strong 
sense of justice. 

" I must not keep you out longer/" he pur- 
sues. " The night air is damp and you may 
feel the worse of this to-morrow.""* 

" Good-night, then, monsieur."^ 

" Good-night/" he responds, removing the 
pebbles from before her on the gravel sweep. 

" What are you doing T' she inquires. 

" Kicking the stones out of your pathway 
as I would willingly do through life, if I had the 
chance."" 

She goes into the porch. 

^' Mademoiselle/" he calls, following her 
hastily, ^^ I want you. I will not hinder you 
long. I have forgotten something."" 

^' What is it ?"" she asks, coming forward 
again. 

" I only want you to say, ^ God bless Jack." 
You know I shall have no wife to call me Jack."" 

He forgets the debts which he has given his 
word he will pay off ; he forgets all the dictates of 
prudence and all future consequences ; he forgets 
what a poor man he is in reality ; he forgets 
that this little girl has nothing for her fortune 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 59 

but her brown face and her warm heart ; and he 
gives himself up to the intoxication of the 
moment — for Thyrza has touched him and won 
her way to his soul, as he did not think it 
possible any woman could now do. He takes 
her hand; he draws her nearer to him, then 
nearer still. Yielding to his impulses, he throws 
an arm round her waist, and stoops his head to 
hers until he feels her breath on his cheek and 
their lips almost meet. 

*^^Miss Rutherfard, Miss Rutherfurd/' cry 
the twins, running out at the door, " Cecilia has 
not come back, and the big kettle has boiled 
over and put out the kitchen fire, and there is 
such a mess. We want supper, for we are very 
hungry.^' 

Terrier and Thyrza both start. 

" "Will you not say it, Thyrza ?'' 

" God bless you. Monsieur Jack,'''' she replies. 
He presses his lips reverently to her hand and 
then, tingling all over with a sensation she can- 
not analyse, Thyrza returns to the house with 
the children, leaving Terrier walking up and 
down in the moonlight. 

It was touch and go, he muses, he must really 
be more careful. The ice once broken cannot 
be frozen over again without leaving a mark. 
He will ffo to Edinburojh the first thinsr to-morrow. 



60 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

She is certainly a dear little thing_, and inclined 
to be fond of him. But he cannot marry her, so 
he will let her alone, and she will soon get over 
any little disappointment she may at first expe- 
rience. He has years of hard uphill work before 
him, and when he goes back to China, will be 
obliged to relinquish many of the pleasures in 
which he has formerly indulged, including his 
fishing and shooting expeditions. When he re- 
turns some fifteen years hence, Thyrza will be a 
buxom matron with blooming children, and will 
have forgotten the small romance in the moon- 
light which happened in the silly, happy, laughing 
days of her girlhood. 

But in spite of his philosophy, and although 
this is undeniably plain common sense. Terrier 
cannot bring himself yet to contemplate with 
calmness, the idea of another man as his 
successor to Thyrza^s smiles and blushes. He 
lights a couple of cigars one after the other, and 
throws both impatiently away; then he is re- 
called to himself and prosaic facts by the re- 
membrance that even the price of a cigar is a 
matter of importance to him now. 




CHAPTER III. 



T is Sunday morning at Carmylie, near 
the close of September. All is very 
quiet and peaceful this autumn day. The boats 
which came in late the evening before are moored 
high and dry on the beach^ and the fishermen 
with their families are wending their way to the 
kirk. A west wind, fresh and laden with aro- 
matic spices from the pine woods, blows from the 
great bare Glencairn mountains, the red-deer 
tenanted glens, and the purple Witches Law, 
over the wild moorlands, and peat mosses, and 
craggy hills, to the sea. 

It is almost time for the service to begin. 
The minister's " orra man " has been tolling the 
bell for the last quarter of an hour, and consults 
his watch to discover if he should not stop ring- 
ing. Being a fine morning, the roads and paths 
from farm towns and cottages, through fields and 
woods, are pretty well used, and Mr. Dods from 



62 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the vestry window^ comments to himself with 
satisfaction on the prospect of a fair collection. 

For the convenience of those members of the 
congregation who reside at a distance^ the ser- 
vice does not commence until a quarter to twelve 
o'clock, and there is only afternoon " wor- 
ship ■'■' on every alternate Sunday throughout the 
year. Mr. Dods, after taking a farewell look at 
the " heads " of his sermon, is assisted into his 
black gown, presented to him by the ladies of 
the surrounding district, with the aid of the 
beadle or " church officer/"' The bell ceases 
and he proceeds up the kirk between the pews to 
his rostrum — the pulpit — giving a glance, as he 
walks past, at the Carmylie pew. 

To-day it is tenanted; owing to one of the 
horses being ill and the other, by command of 
Kattray, resting from its exertions during the 
past week in loading corn, the family is unable 
to drive to Queensmuir to church. 

Carmylie is gay just now. Charity having pre- 
vailed upon Jack to allow her to invite the Mac- 
Nabs and Lefroys to pay them a visit, and the 
pew contains more occupants than it has held 
since old Mr. Terrier's death. 

The interior of the kirk is not fascinating : 
the walls are hung with cobwebs ; green mould 
lies in streaks where the damp has penetrated 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 68 

througli the porous sandstone of which it is built. 
There is no altar or Communion table. The pulpit 
and precentor^s desk stand one over the other after 
the manner of a three-decker ; the pews are high 
and uncushioned ; altogether the tout ensemble 
is simple and plain, even to severeness. A large 
picture of one of the departed Campbells,, high 
sheriff of the county, taken in his scarlet robes 
of ofSce, is suspended right above the minister''s 
head. 

The Carmylie seat is a square sort of box 
minus the lid, with a small table in the middle on 
which the books repose. It has belonged to the 
Carmylie estate from time immemorial. From 
generation to generation each young bride of the 
Campbells had sat the first Sunday after mar- 
ried life in the old worm-eaten seat. How many 
prayers and high aspirations may have been 
breathed forth at the rickety deal table! How 
many sighs and beautiful thoughts have gone up- 
wards to the great white throne above, as the father 
and mother bowed their heads on the pew board 
which had decayed as their little ones grew np 
and increased in strength and stature, while the 
old people became laden with the burden of 
years, going slowly down the hill of life to the 
valley below, where death set his seal upon them 
and chilled their warm hearts for ever ! 



64 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

The farmers who have been walking up and 
clown the broad paved walk which extends along 
the kirk, come in from discussing the state of 
the weather, the prospects of the crops, or the 
price at which cattle sold at the last market they 
attended. This walk is bordered in spring by a 
small hedge of the richest and sweetest scented 
golden and brown chocolate wallflowers, growing 
in great abundance in the spaces between the 
flat slabs and grassy mounds which mark the 
places where the unknown dead have mouldered 
to dust centuries ago. There the blossoms bud, 
and unfold, and scent, the salt air, till at length 
they fall and flutter on the grey stones ; while 
just below the ceaseless tide ebbs and flows, twice 
every day, through the heat of summer and the 
icy winds of winter. 

The minister gives out the hymn, and the 
precentor, after twirling forth to the front of his 
seat a placard on which is printed the name of 
the tune to be sung, starts the key note of the 
hundredth psalm, and the congregation, who sit 
to sing, unite their voices in one strong body of 
sound, the broad rich Doric of the precentor 
soaring above all. 

There is something peculiarly grand about 
this splendid old psalm, written by the shepherd- 
king in his palmy days, and though one may differ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 65 

from the principles of the Covenanters^ still it is 
impossible to deny that it must have had a solemn 
and impressive effect when sung with one accord 
by a vast multitude in a heathery desert among 
the solitudes of the pine-clad mountains. Ferrier 
has only just settled himself to suit his ideas of 
comfort in a corner of the seat when Mr. Dods 
begins the first prayer^, at which every one is ex- 
pected to standi and he rises somewhat un- 
willingly while the others follow his example. 

Mr. Dods has a slow pompous manner of 
delivery ; he smacks his lips at the conclusion of 
each sentence in an unctuous way,, as though he 
had said something remarkably clever. Ferrier 
meditates — " if this is the length of the prayer^ 
what will be that of the sermon V 

There has been a death in the glen lately, to 
which Mr. Dods makes pointed allusion. He says 
that perfect resignation is necessary under such 
circumstances when the " Lord has thought fit 
to take away the child.'' The bereaved relations, 
indicated by their deep mourning apparel, are 
most of them crying loudly; but the father 
stands bolt upright, looking unmoved and ob- 
durate as a block of the everlasting granite 
mountains among which he has spent his life. 

The supply of hymn-books runs short. Jack 
and Thyrza share one between them. He thinks 

VOL. II. 5 



66 ^ BROWN AS A KERRY. 

liow sweet she looks in her shady broad-brimmed 
Dolly Varden hat_, trimmed with black velvet and 
a bunch of pink daisies. She wears an old- 
fashioned white cape and a clean pink print ; her 
hair is tied with rose-coloured ribbons^ and she 
has a spray of honeysuckle at her waistband. 

Rosie and Davie, weary during the prayer, 
become fidgety. Thyrza scolds them in a stage 
whisper ; consoles them by a gift of " sweeties/^ 
which Davie snatches from Rosie and stuffs into 
his mouth at once, thereby producing a fit of 
coughing. He drops the penny which Charity 
has given him to put into the box as his alms, 
disappears under the seat in search thereof, and 
altogether conducts himself after a fashion which 
recalls to Mark the movements of a young 
hopeful near to whom he once had the misfor- 
tune to be located in a London church. 

" Mamma, how much did you give T' said this 
enfant terrible^ while the collection was pro- 
ceeding. " A halfpenny, or half-a-crown T' 

" Hush, my dear ; you must not speak so 
loud,''^ said the mother. 

" How much did you put in ?" persisted the 
spoilt child. " I will speak loud if you don^t 
tell me.'' 

At this threat the mother bent down and 
whispered in a low voice the sum she had given. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 67 

" A halfpenny V^ exclaimed the little darling, 
loud enough to be heard by all in the immediate 
neighbourhood. ^' Was it not too much ?" 

The younger members of the congregation are 
evidently tired long before the prayer is concluded. 
Their attention wanders; they shift uneasily 
from leg to leg in order to vary their position ; 
they lounge in attitudes more or less easy than 
elegant on the edge of the pews, but the old 
men and women stand quiet and still with reve- 
rent silent mien. 

There is another hymn, also a paraphrase of 
one of the psalms of David, *^'As pants the hart 
for cooling streams.^' This is a portion of the 
service which all enjoy, as the Scotch as a nation 
are passionately fond of music and singing, but 
being par excellence an argumentative people, to 
them the sermon is the chief and most important 
part of all, consequently upon it Mr. Dods has 
bestowed the greatest pains, and it, as well as the 
prayer, is entirely extempore. After expounding 
some verses of a chapter in the Old Testament, 
and offering a short prayer, the discourse, a 
simple one, begins. 

The congregation settle themselves in their 
places ; the women arrange their dresses ; all 
cough and clear their throats ; some small chil- 
dren endeavour to fraternize with each other; 

5—2 



68 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

a pair of lovers, soon to be married, ex- 
change glances ; some ploughmen who have been 
working hard during the last six days at the 
harvest, being overcome by the repose of their 
unwonted holiday, go calmly to sleep in a dark 
corner under the gallery ; and the shepherds give 
instructions to their collies to lie quietly — at 
Carmylie the sheepdogs always accompany their 
masters to the kirk — and Ferrier draws nearer to 
Thyrza; he plays with the leaves of her Bible, 
and surreptitiously abstracts one of the dried 
daisies pressed between its pages ; a swallow 
which has by some mischance managed to fly into 
the building flutters about and dashes up agaiijist 
the window panes, which appear so transparent, 
yet are so hard, and oppose its vain eff'orts. 

When all the final preparations are made, the 
attention of the greater part of his hearers is 
riveted on the minister. 

^' For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of 
man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, 
and the flower thereof falleth away : But the word 
of the Lord endureth for ever'' (1 Pet. i. 24, 25), 
is his text, chosen with reference to the loss of 
the cottager's daughter. 

'^ My Christian friends," he begins, " what 
a solemn and unavoidable thing is death ! Let 
me entreat of you earnestly to consider the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 69 

subject. Our life at best is but ' vaiiity, so soon 
passeth it away and we are gone/ Here we 
may be in peace and happiness^ enjoying all the 
good things of this world_, with plentiful harvests, 
abundant fruits of the earthy and well filled 
purses, when lo ! the cry of the divine word is 
heard : ^ Is this a time to plant and to build ?^ 
' This night thy soul shall be required of thee/ 
And then if your soul is not in an elect con- 
dition when it quits its earthly tenement nothing 
can avail you. Where the tree falls, there it 
shall lie. Can it again rise and root itself in 
the ground? Can it again cause the young 
spring sap to run through its elastic veins with 
the lusty vigour and strength of former days ? 
Can it again make the green summer leaves cover 
its lofty crown with pleasant shade? Will the 
birds of the air once more hold pastime in its 
branches, and baild their nests and rear their 
little ones, and sing under its foliage ? Will it 
ever enjoy the sun or drink up the gentle rain ? 
No, my friends, you know full well it never will. 
Unless moved by some human agency it will lie 
and rot where it fell until all its particles return 
to the earth from whence it came. 

'' Even so. Christian friends and brethren, it is 
with us human beings. 

^' For the soul that is unregenerate at death. 



70 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

tliere is, there can be, no liope. It is utterly 
lost; it is sunk in perdition. As the tree lies 
rotting, so shall our souls burn in hell fire. 
Nothing can redeem them or take them from 
thence. Think what it must be to be utterly and 
for ever lost. Not for a single day, or a few days, 
or weeks, or months, or even years, but without 
end j eternally, my brethren, forever is an awful 
word ." 

Mr. Dods pauses. 

Outside the church all is life and sunshine. 
The butterflies flit from flower to flower ; the 
bees hum busily ; the gnats dance gaily as if there 
would be no end to their careless existence. The 
sheep bleat as they crop the grass among the grave- 
stones ; a cock crows from the minister's courtyard 
as cocks have crowed at noontide since the days 
when the voice of one awakened the conscience of 
warm-hearted, passionately loving, hot-headed S. 
Peter. The swallow, exhausted by its vain exer- 
tions to obtain freedom, pants and clings by its 
little claws to the windoAV-sill ; the sea murmurs 
its rippling song, and a Mr. and Mrs. Gull sail 
on the breaking waves, rising and sinking with 
the very poetry of motion. 

Terrier involuntarily turns to Thyrza with a 
gesture as if, whatever comes, he will defend her 
from death and danger. Her brown ungloved 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 71 

hand is lying negligently at her side^ he pos- 
sesses himself of it, and stows it in his pocket.' 
She is looking grave for her_, but as she finds out 
"what he has done, she gives him a smile which 
makes him imagine what heaven must be like. 
Eosie is curled up on the seat beside Thyrza ; 
her head is pillowed on her shoulder, her flaxen 
locks mix with Thyrza^s dark tresses. Davie, on 
his knees,, with hand half unclosed, is occupied in 
catching a daddy-longlegs fly, which slowly crawls 
almost into the expectant fingers, but moves away 
as the boy^s hand closes on emptiness, and yet re- 
turns to play the same deluding game over again . 
Rattray is sitting in the pew next to the Carmylie 
one ; his face rests on the book-table after his 
ordinary habit, and he is sleeping somewhat 
noisily while Cecilia tries to awaken him to a 
sense of propriety. Afterwards, he will declare he 
" never heard a better sermon from Mr. Dods." 

He is roused for an instant, exclaims testily, 
sotto voce, " Hoots woman ! Fm no sleeping, 
it^s yersel \" and succumbs to the drowsy god 
the next moment. 

" Christian friends, what a terrible thought 
is this," pursues Mr. Dods, striking the volume 
of holy writ emphatically, observing Ferrier's 
action. ^' And this fate may be ours to-day, or 
to-morrow. God only knows when it may be. 



72 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

These green graves by which we are surrounded, 
where our friends lie sleeping, while we sit here 
alive with time still before us, contain in many 
cases our nearest and dearest. Where are the 
kindly spirits, the loving hearts we knew ? We 
can tell if they departed hence in God^s faith and 
fear. We know that those ' whom God predes- 
tinates, them He also calls; and whom He calls, 
them He also justifies ; and whom He justifies, 
them He also glorifies.' Immediately after death 
their souls are then made perfect in holiness, they 
are received into the highest heavens and enjoy 
communion in glory with Christ, beholding the 
face of God in light and glory. But the souls of 
the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain 
in torments and utter darkness reserved to the 
judgment of the great day. The ultimate fate of 
each one of us has been decided before we were 
born into this world of trial and tribulation ; of 
sorrow and suffering ; whether we shall be saved, 
or shall share the condemnation of Judas, has 
been predestined from all eternity. Dear brethren, 
let us inquire how this applies to ourselves.'^ 

Terrier presses Thyrza's hand tighter. She 
tries to withdraw it, but without success. Rosie 
whispers, ^^ Will the sermon be much longer 7" 
Thyrza replies she does not know. Big grey 
clouds, full of rain are rising behind the moun- 



BROWN AS A BEKRY. 73 

tains ; the sky is overcast^ and one or two large 
rain drops fall against the window-sill. 

Mr. Dods branches off into the second head 
of his sermon, submission to the dispensations of 
providence, and in his third warns his people 
against the vanities of the world as witnessed in 
gaudy ribbons and bonnets, which invariably lead 
to the downward way, and finishes with several 
denunciations taken from the book of Ezekiel. 
But he has said little or nothing to console 
the old man, bereft of the child of his old age, 
whose mind has been haunted during the service 
by remembrances of her bright face. It was in 
that corner she sat ; there the sun used to gild 
her ^' lint white hair ;" there, too, is the very 
hymn-book she sang out of the last Sunday she 
had been able to attend kirk, a piece of blue 
ribbon still marking the page. Her place is empty 
now : it will not be filled again. Her voice will 
never again come lilting by the burn-side, or 
through tlie birken shade in the spring gloaming — 
and he had been so proud of his daughter. That 
it is a " dispensation of providence " aff'ords no 
comfort to him. What has he done, he thinks, to 
be so punished ? What is the use of Jean being 
up " in glory" if he cannot see her ? He will 
go home and work as usual, but no smile will 
come to his lips j he will even cease to care 



74 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

about tending his birds, with which, according 
to his wife, he was wont " to mak' sic a wark." 
He will turn into a hard dour man; all the 
joy of his life is gone ; an untaught Christian, 
his ideas of God remain always as of a cruel task- 
master, a great and immortal being who deprives 
his poor creatures of whatever gives them pleasure 
in this world. 

But the majority of the people admire the 
sermon. '^ The minister has been terrible the 
day upon death and judgment V^ Cecilia remarks 
to Rattray. There was plenty of vehemence and 
gesture, with abundance of warnings to all im- 
penitent sinners ; the congregation feel stirred up. 
None of the farmers slept, and on the whole, 
only thought half-a-dozen times or so how the 
new cattle would turn out, and if it would be 
worth while to try the experiment of sowing 
winter wheat again, that lot on the Chapelton 
brae ha\dng been a dead failure. '^ Mr. Dods 
has given them a fine sermon this Sabbath." 

One of the elders goes round with a small 
box fastened to the end of a long stick and 
collects donations from all the seats. He comes 
to the Carmylie pew. Ferrier has no money with 
him. Thyrza observing this, slips her purse into 
his hand. It contains the magnificent sum of six- 
pence, the sum total of her fortune at that moment. 



BROWN AS A BERKY. 75 

Jack accepts it^ and forthwith it is swept into the 
box among the rest of the pennies and halfpence. 
The shepherds sit still and adjure good be- 
haviour on the collies ; the rest of the people 
rise while the blessing is pronounced. Almost 
directly afterwards everyone disperses ; the swal- 
low falls dead on the window-seat ; it has died 
within sight of the sky and of its mate, who has 
been waiting without for its advent. The con- 
gregation stream along the path leading through 
the kirk-yard to the one street of the fishing- 
village. The collies bark and rejoice to be once 
more at liberty, and Mrs. Napier and the 
MacNabs wonder how they are to preserve the 
splendours of their tulle bonnets from the rain 
which is now falling heavily. 

" No one to love me, no one to bless," 

hums Terrier, while the minister, divested of his 
black gown and having counted over the col- 
lection, comes to offer umbrellas to the storm- 
stayed ladies. 

^' It is Sunday, Mr. Terrier,^' says Jane 
MacNab. 

" So I believe," returns Terrier, whistling the 
concluding bars of " Behold the ex-Emperor 
Driven from Home!" ^'^ Sunday is scarcely kept 
when you are out of England." 



76 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^^ Did you not go to church in China ?" 

'' When I lived in Shanghai I was a very- 
good boy ; but latterly up the Yang-tse-Kiang 
I generally gave myself a holiday on Sunday 
and smoked peacefully lying under an awning at 
the bottom of a boat. I give you leave to try 
to convert me for the future. ^^ 

'' Bless me ! bless me V' exclaims Mr. Lefroy. 
" How wet it is. Do you think it will rain all 
day ?" appealing to a sturdy fisherman who 
chances to be passing by." 

^^ No muckle prospect o^ clearing noo," the 
man responds. " There was frost in the nicht 
and it has begun to rain wi^ the income o^ the 
tide^ and when it does that it aye rains a^ day." 

Mr. Dods in the pulpit preaching Calvinistic 
sermons of the gloomiest tendency^ according to 
the received Confession of Faith, and jMr. Dods 
distributing the hospitalities of his manse, is 
another and a diflPerent man. He is all smiles 
and comj)liments, and after a litile trouble per- 
suades Mrs. Napier to adjourn to the manse^ while 
his handmaiden, Tibbie, is sent up to Carmylie 
for cloaks and waterproofs and goloshes. 

" I was glad to see Rattray at church again," 
observes the minister ; ^' he seems better of his 
injuries now." 

" What was the matter with him?" asks Lola. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 77 

'' Did not you know ? 01i_, he was very much 
hurt. He found Gow poaching in the Chapeltou 
Wood and on telling him to desist the man 
attacked him most savagely. The old man was 
laid up for some time, and is only just able to 
work again." 

" But has not Gow been taken up by the 
police ?" 

" No, he has been too clever for them." 

" I should think he was easy of identification 
being marked with small-pox and having only 
one arm." 

" The conduct of the people is frightful ! 
frightful ! frightful !" says Mr. Lefroy, with an 
emphatic stamp of his foot on the floor of the 
manse dining-room at each repetition of the 
word frightful. 

The umbrellas and cloaks arriving Mr. Dods 
singles out Thyrza, and insists on wrapping her 
up in a huge grey waterproof down to her heels, 
leaving Ferrier and Mark to attend to the other 
ladies. 

As they say farewell at the manse door, Mrs. 
Napier begs the minister will come and dine 
with them that evening at Carmylie, which 
invitation, after pondering on the morality of 
such a proceeding on the Sabbath, he somewhat 
hesitatingly accepts. 



78 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

The fislierman's prophecy proves correct^ the 
weather does not clear. A wet day in the 
country is at all times a depressing events more 
especially in the shooting season. The women 
with their fancy work, letters, and bits of gossip 
are better off than the men, who have been 
known to propose when nothing more interesting 
in the way of employment has turned up_, having 
been driven to desperation by ennui. Hence 
dowagers and match-makers hail a country 
house and a wet autumn with delight, and the 
marriage column reaps a goodly harvest. But a 
rainy Sunday is infinitely worse. Nothing can 
be done in the way of games ; no billiards, no 
chess, not even the occupation of gun cleaning, 
which has been resorted to as a forlorn hope for 
amusement. Mark looks out at the sad, dull 
sky and sea, a white ruck of foam lying along 
the sand-bar alone breaks the grey expanse of 
water and cloud. Mr. Lefroy goes to sleep by 
the side of the wood fire, which owing to the 
keenness of the air and Mrs. Ferrier^s delicate 
chest, is always kept burning in the drawing- 
room. Charity, in a black silk dress and crape, 
with white ruffles on her neck and wrists, a rosary 
with a large cross round her throat, and another 
rosary with a larger cross hanging from her 
chatelaine, small crosses in her delicate ears, a 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 79 

Prayer Book bound in ivory witli innumerable 
dangling markers on her knee, covers herself up 
on the sofa with a scarlet Spanish muleteer's scarf, 
and appears to be the essence of her name. The 
MacNabs try to make Mark talk, but with little 
result. Thyrza, after taking off her things, goes 
to the schoolroom to put the twins through the 
Collect and Church Catechism. Instead of learn- 
ing the former, as Thyrza told him to do, Davie 
has pinned a piece of paper on Rosie's back with 
the information scrawled upon it, " I am a 
goose.^'' There is a scent of cigar-smoke in the 
place, and presently Ferrier emerges from behind 
the window-curtain, where he has been like 
Mark, engaged in contemplating the rain beat- 
ing on the thin branches of the scraggy larch 
trees and the wind-reversed ash leaves. 

" Just like our luck,"^ he says, refilling his 
pipe, "here^s Charity been and got a lot of 
people to stay in the house, and the rain is 
pouring cats and dogs, of course ! And Sunday, 
too, when one can^t have even a round of whist ! 
The very idea would be enough to frighten the 
godly MacNabs out of their skius.^^ 

*^ Perhaps it will be a fine day to-morrow,'''' 
replies Thyrza. 

"Not likely; east wind and a mist rising. 
The Witches Law has got its nightcap on, we^re 



80 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

safe to have it wet for the next week. Do you 
feel better for going to cliurcli to-day ?" 
'' I don't know.'' 

" I know I feel mucli worse ; always makes 
me melancholy. Suppose it is the foreboding of 
what my latter end will be." 

The tobacco smoke catches Thyrza's breath ; she 
coughs ; Terrier promptly extinguishes his pipe. 
" Oh, don't let me prevent you from smoking/' 
she says at once_, " your study must be your own 
at this hour, monsieur." 

" Another way of saying, there is the door, 
walk. Eh ? Can't you let me alone when I happen 
to prefer the schoolroom to the MacNabs ?" 

'' Should not you be there to entertain 
them?" 

" Mark is a ladies' man ; left him to it. The 
brother is a duffer. Don't let me hinder you 
from hearing the children their Sunday lessons. 
Puts me in mind of when I was a little shaver 
like Davie," Thyrza takes possession of the big 
chair with the straight wooden back, and mar- 
shals the twins before her. 

" What is your name ?" she begins. 

" Which are you asking, Davie or me ?" asks 
little Mischief. 

'^ You," responds her preceptress, with gravity. 

" Don't you know it ? How stupid of you, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 81 

Miss Rutherfurd, why Rose Mary Napier to be 
sure V' 

The Collect and Catechism end more favour- 
ably than they would have done, had Ferrier not 
been in the room to enforce Thyrza's authority. 
The instruction over the twins, like their elders^ 
want something to do. After a long whispered 
consultation Rosie runs away, and returns with a 
coat of Ferrier^s, which she puts on, and mounts 
the steps used for lifting down books from the 
higher shelves. Davie takes up his position a 
little lower down. 

" What are you up to ?'' says Ferrier. 

*^ AVe^re going to preach, Uncle Jack.^^ 

" You^ll both of you fall and smash that big 
bottle of ink.'' 

" 1 am going to be minister,'' calls out Rosie. 

" No, you shan't ; I shall," declares Davie. 

'' I will ; you are the precentor. Now, I 
begin the sermon. Christian friends, these lions 
that ate Daniel." 

" Daniel wasn't eaten by the lions, and you've 
never given out the text," indignantly remon- 
strates Davie. 

" He was," persists Rosie, convinced but 
determined not to give up her point. " Christian 
friends, my text is the tenth verse of the fiftieth 
chapter of Daniel, there now." 

VOL. II. 6 



82 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" YouVe rung no bell, it isn^t proper to 
preach unless there^s a bell/*' objects Davie. 

'' Ah, but what would mamma say ?'' argues 
Rosie, " Christian friends, these lions that ate 
Daniel had five tails and three heads/' having 
got thus far in triumph, she pauses to reflect 
upon the next sentence. 

'^ And beloved brethren, if you are — are wicked 
a lion will come out of a wood and eat you up," 
says Davie, taking advantage of his opportunity, 
and seizing time by the forelock. 

" You've no business to preach, you're only 
the precentor, " pouts Rosie, swelling with 
offended dignity. 

" I shall preach," persists Davie, and he would 
have proceeded further, but unluckily his 
thoughts have fled, and refuse to be arranged, 
" and— and " 

'^ You can't preach !" exclaims Rosie, with 
scorn. 

" I can," responds Davie, doubling up his fist 
and attacking Rosie, whose arms being incom- 
moded by the long sleeves of Ferrier's coat, is 
unable to defend herself properly. 

'^ Oh, Miss Rutherfurd !" she cries, '^ Davie 
is hurting me." 

" Sneaky thing to cry before you are hurt," 
says Davie, catching hold of the coat-tails. In 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 83 

another instant the steps overbalance themselves^ 
and with a loud yell and heavy crash the twins 
and steps fall to the ground, Davie underneath 
the whole, and has received the entire contents 
of the inkstand over his face and shirt collar. 
Jack extricates him from the general debris — 
much frightened, but uninjured. He presents 
an extremely lively spectacle, and after reflecting 
whether he will cry or not, decides on doing so, 
and opening his mouth to its fullest extent, 
sets up a tremendous howl ; then he puts up both 
hands and rubs the tears all over his cheeks, 
thereby producing a mass of black streaks and 
alternate smudges perfectly indescribable. ■ 

The noise of the fall is heard over the whole 
house, and startles Mr. Lefroy from his dreams. 

'' What was that ? Jupiter is welV^ he says 
vaguely, thinking of one of his pet bulls. 

Even Mrs. Ferrier looks up to wonder what 
it was. Charity rises from the sofa, lays down 
her ivory prayer-book, and departs straight to 
the schoolroom, where she finds Jack and Thyrza 
engaged in mopping up the ink-stains from 
the carpet with a duster, and tidying the 
books. 

" I am perfectly ashamed. Miss Rutherfurd, of 
your disgraceful conduct. It is your fault the 
children are so disorderly. And on Sunday, too, 

6—2 



84 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

and the house full of visitors, which renders it 
still worse. It is so like you." 

Thyrza's pride is up in arms at being spoken 
to after this manner before Jack ; her sensitive 
mouth quivers, and her eyes fill with tears, which 
her dignity alone prevents from falling ; and she 
fidgets nervously with a corner of her apron. What 
is the use, thinks Charity, of paying people if you 
cannot find fault with them, never mind about 
their feelings ; walk roughshod over them ; they 
ought to put them in their pockets. 

J^'errier gives his sister a look which Thyrza 
takes in exactly the contrary light from that he 
intends Charity to do. 

" It is really shocking you cannot be trusted 
for five minutes with them. I never heard such 
a dreadful noise. Instead of growing better 
they are gone off* in their manners." 

Neither Ferrier nor Thyrza make any observa- 
tions ; one for the reason he is afraid of saying 
something too strong, the other because she 
cannot trust her voice to speak, and after con- 
tinuing in a similar strain for several minutes. 
Charity departs to the drawing-room. 

" Come to Cecilia, Davie, and have your face 
washed," says Thyrza, rather huskily, when 
Charity^s silk has whisked downstairs. 

" I won't," replies Davie, sulkily, wrenching 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 85 

his jacket collar out of Thyrza^s grasp, and 
rushing off to the other side of the table. Then 
they have an exciting game of dodging round 
and round for about ten minutes. 

" How naughty you are V' exclaims Thyrza, 
while both she and Davie pause for breath. 

" Oh, naughty, naughty, naughty V' mimics 
Davie, speaking in double F sharp. 

Thyrza, losing her temper, makes a dash at 
him, but her petticoats intervene, and the embroi- 
dery catching on a malicious steel point of the 
fender brings down the fire-irons with a tre- 
mendous clatter. Stooping to release herself 
Davie departs quickly out of the room, and by 
the time Thyrza is free his merry laugh and the 
click of a bolt show he is safe from both her^s 
and Cecilia^s wrath. 

" Don^t you wish you could swear ?'^ says 
Ferrier, laughing. " To make a few hot remarks 
is such a relief to the overheated system. Ah ! 
my wife shall never be so impulsive. Nothing 
that she may say or do will ever take me by 
surprise. That is my sort. No little tempers 
you know ; her feelings and passions all cut out 
and modelled by machinery.^'' 

This is the last drop in Thyrza^s cup. Ferrier^s 
raillery strikes on her like cold water on heated 
steel. The rebellious and traitorous tears force 



86 BROWN AS A BEKRY. 

themselves on to her cheeks despite her valiant 
struggles to restrain them^ for in general she is 
anything but a Niobe. 

" Wretch !" she exclaims from the bottom of 
her soul_, her eyes flashing indignant fire at 
Ferrier. 

'^ Mademoiselle '/'' he says. 

"No; no^ monsieur. I might have known 
you would only laugh at me and quiz me ; you 
have done nothing else smce we met at Villios.''' 

" You are mistaken^ mademoiselle.'''' 

Thyrza moves hastily into the passage ; Ferrier 
follows her. 

" Mademoiselle, you are wrong " he 

attempts to explain. 

'^ I am not wrong. I know you did. Go 
away, monsieur.''^ 

Instead of obeying her wishes he tries to 
persuade her to speak, but in vain. She runs 
off" down the corridor. 

" Dear little soul, I have been and ofi'ended 
lier,^^ reflects Jack as he pursues Thyrza, and 
they race along. Ferrier is in splendid condition ; 
not an ounce of superfluous flesh on him, and he 
has the advantage of long legs, but Thyrza is 
light, supple, and agile as a roe deer ; she is 
fleet of foot, and has besides a start of a couple 
of yards, so, as Jack arrives round one corner of 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 87 

the winding passage lie just catcTies sight of 
Thyrza's retreating figure, her little feet and 
pretty ankles, Wasp makiQg sundry bites at her 
dress. 

Terrier is at fault. Her bedroom door is 
wide open, revealing her Sunday hat tossed care- 
lessly on the floor. There is an immense ward- 
robe of great antiquity in one corner made of 
black polished wood, marvellously carved and 
ornamented, supposed to have been brought from 
the Harz Mountains ; if she has not hidden 
herself therein she has fled elsewhere. Right 
opposite are the garret stairs. A skylight at 
the top sheds a slight light on the corkscrew 
steps, in the middle of which a small slipper is 
lying. Jack climbs up, three steps at a time, 
places the shoe in his pocket, and reaches the 
landing, where Wasp receives him with a growl 
and gurr of displeasure. Jack no longer hesi- 
tates ; he flings open a door which shuts to after 
him and enters. It is rather dark, and at first 
he can distinguish nothing. As his eyes become 
more accustomed to the dim light, he perceives 
an apparently inanimate bundle of rose-coloured 
print doubled up together in a confused lump 
among the dust and antediluvian cobwebs and 
lumber of old boxes and discarded furniture. 

Thyrza is crying bitterly. 



88 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Mademoiselle^ don^t cry like this/^ says 
Ferrier, consolingly. ^' Is it because I " 

'^ It is not because of you at all. I don^t 
care what you think/' 

'^ Then why are you crying ?" 

" Because I like to cry/' she says^ passionately. 
" Go away_, how dare you come after me here T' 

" I have been an unfeeling brute to make you 
shed so many tears from those sweet eyes. 
I apologize; I never dreamt " 

" Don't flatter yourself it is for you, monsieur. 

I wish I had never seen you, never " pausing 

just in time to prevent the words " liked you " 
from concluding her sentence. 

" Won't you say you bear no malice ?" he 
begs. 

" No_, that I won't,, for it would not be true. 
I do bear malice. I can't endure the sight of 
you. Now, are you satisfied ?" 

She buries her head in her hands on the 
dusty floor, while a fresh burst of stormy sobs 
comes on. " How silly I am to cry like this. 
You will only laugh and sneer at me as you have 
done all along." 

Wasp stands looking at Thyrza with amaze- 
ment ; he snuffs at her and whines plaintively as 
if to ask the meaning of her distress. Several 
patriarchal spiders and slaters, considerably 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 89 

astonished at being disturbed from tbeir domains, 
scuttle away under the rafters. The rain pours 
steadily down and trickles along the skylight 
over the roof where the jackdaws are seeking 
shelter under the eaves, drip, drip, splash, splash. 

'' No, Thyrza, don't hate me.''* 

He lifts her in his arms and showers kisses on 
the tear-stained eyes and cheeks and rosy lips. 
She struggles to free herself but he holds her fast. 

" Don't kiss me, vous vous moquez de moi, 
monsieur. I hate being kissed ; you choke me ; 
I can't breathe ; you have no right. Oh, don't/'' 

" Little darling/' 

The words sound wonderfully sweet on Thyrza's 
ear ; they seem to mean so much, spoken by 
Terrier. In her solitary loveless life no one had 
ever called her by that endearing title before. 
Girls accustomed to a happy home and the 
kindness of indulgent parents can hardly realize 
the intense^ wild thrill which comes across her 
ardent, warm heart, on fire with the enthusiasm 
and hopes and dreams of youth. 

^^ Darling, give me the right," continues Jack, 
dwelling on the soft word he has once thought 
so obnoxious, and carried away by the excite- 
ment of the moment beyond all the prudent con- 
siderations of common sense, " I think we shall 
get on very well together." 



90 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

" I am not your darling, and I never will be/* 
she answers_, trying hard to repress the rapture 
of delight which sweeps over her. 

" Never is a long day. There, let me cure those 
pretty eyes. Don^t you like it V as Thyrza 
shrinks from him and hides her head on his 
shoulder. 

'' No I don%'' says Thyrza. 

" What a queer girl you are ! Has anyone 
ever tried before T^ he exclaims, suspiciously. 

"No, never.^^ 

" You must give me one to seal the contract 
and make it all square." 

" No, monsieur ; you have perhaps said more 
than you intended." 

*' You must have seen I was no end fond of 
you always." 

" I canH say I did/' endeavouring to loosen 
the grasp of Ferrier's arms round her waist. 

" I have often been abominably rude to you 
for the reason that if I had not I should have 
been obliged to give in sooner. I like you 
because I can't help myself, but you give me 
a few crumbs out of charity to a poor sinner. 
It is only pity on your side." 

" How could it be ?" looking up into Jack's 
bronzed face, his steel-grey eyes, his wide truth- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 91 

speaking mouth,, with love imprinted on every 
feature of her countenance. 

'' It went so against my conscience to ask you 
to give your pure life to the broken^ worn out 
one of mine. Upon my word, I did my best not 
to fall in love. You are a hundred thousand 
times too good for me. But if turning over 
a new leaf and loving you with heart and soul 
can recommend me, then you will not refuse 
me T' speaking in a caressing way which goes to 
Thyrza^s heart. 

" No/' falters Thyrza. 

" I don't want to hide anything from you ; it 
would not be just. Suppose T concealed my 
past and after we had been married a bit you had 
found it out, then what would you have thought 
of mc ? I tell you I have been a wild fellow.'"* 

^' Monsieur is so honourable and high-minded 
and noble/' says Thyrza, who sees no faults in 
her hero invested in the halo blind affection casts 
around the object of adoration. 

" Ah, darling, I am a bright genius with a 
vengeance to merit your praises. You see I 
cannot help hesitating a little. You might do 
so much better for yourself." 

" I should never find any one I " Thyrza 

has been able to talk of love readily enough 



92 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

before^ but somebow now it seems almost too 
sacred a word to speak aloud. 

" Never find any one you what ?" demands 
Jack^ peremptorily. 

" Whom 1 loved so mucb/^ whispers Thyrza, 
afraid of the sound of her own voice. 

" Darling, suppose some one told you I had 
murdered some one, what would you say then V 

" Something very bitter." 

" Fancy you saying anything bitter V laughs 
Jack. 

^'^ You don^t know what I can do when I try." 

" Suppose you were told I had stolen some- 
thing ?' 

" I would not believe them." 

" Ah, but suppose- you heard from every per- 
son that I was a thorough scoundrel whom no 
one would speak to, and had committed all the 
crimes in the Decalogue, surely then you would 
throw me overboard ?" 

'^ No, monsieur ; then I would come to you," 
she replies slowly, and then impetuously, "^ the 
w^hole world might swear against you, but I 
w^ould believe you." 

" Bless you for that," he says ; ^^ I hope you 
wall not be disappointed in me." 

'^ Do you love me as much as you did 
Lilith ?" 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 93 

" Better, a thousand times better. I never 
knew what love meant until I knew you.^' 

" What did you think of me when you first 
saw me T' 

" I thought I had seen girls who pinned their 
collars straighter and who had smoother hair 
than you/^ returns Ferrier, laughing. 

" No, no j I donH mean that ; but what did 
you think T' 

" I thought if I had a chance I would cul- 
tivate your acquaintance.^^ 

" Oh_, monsieur, you are very tiresome. I 
mean, what were your first impressions of me ? 
What did you notice '^" 

" That you wore no earrings, and I hope you 
will never disfigure your pretty ears with them. 
No, I know that is not what you mean. Darling, 
I will tell you word for word, so far as I re- 
member, exactly what I thought. I saw a 
modest little girl who did not give a look one 
way or another to the Frenchmen in the billiard- 
room, who would have returned it directly had 
they met with the least encouragement — a girl 
who was quite unconscious she possessed any 
personal attractions, and gave me her hand so 
freely and frankly to help me up from the pave- 
ment. I have not yet forgotten the simple way 
in which you put it into mine.^^ 



94 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" How stupid and frightened I was," smiles 
Thyrza ; " I could do nothing but stand still." 

" I see you are not accustomed to being 
kissed; you are so awkward about it. What a 
rusty fellow you have got for a lover," catching 
sight of his reflection in an okl mirror discarded 
from use on account of a crack through its 
centre, 

" Grey boy," says Thyrza, stroking his iron- 
grey hair tenderly, "just admit that you do not 
like disagreeable, neat, sensible women. ^^ 

" Grey girl," he responds, " I do like nice, 
neat, sensible women, for I know there is nothing 
to prevent your being both if you will but try." 




CHAPTER IV. 



HAT a wet day this has been !" remarks 
Charity after dinner,, when the gentlemen 
have come into the drawing-room and they 
are all sitting in a family circle round the 
fire. 

^' We-el^ it has been extraordinarily damp/' 
replies Mr. Dods, looking at Thyrza in an 
affectionate manner, which causes Terrier to feel 
a strong inclination and desire to punch the 
minister's head. 

" Has it been raining ?'' asks Thyrza, inno- 
cently. 

" Why, Miss Rutherfurd, where can your eyes 
have been all the afternoon ?" inquires Mrs. 
Napier. 

" I know,'^ says Rosie, " Uncle Jack and she 
have been sitting in the garret. Oh my ! if 
you had seen them !" 

" Mischief, what fine bows you have on your 



96 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

slippers/' calls Jack^ witli commendable presence 
of mind. 

" Yes, are they not pretty ? They were put 
there to hide a big slit. Oh, mamma, don't 
send me to bed. It is Sunday night, and I 
always stay up late then.'' 

" Let her stay. Charity," begs Jack. " Come 
and sit on my knee, Rosie. If you search my 
pockets I think you will find somethmg you and 
Davie like." 

" I'll come if Miss Rutherfurd does too." 

^' There is a seat beside the fireplace, Thyrza, 
if you do not object to such a lowly position," 
says Jack ; '' or perhaps you may prefer the 
chair. I believe you have a liking for a low 
seat." 

He pronounces her name as though it gives 
him pleasure to linger over the very letters. 

To Mr. Dods' regret, Thyrza rises, and quitting 
his side, goes to a footstool Jack has placed for 
her between himself and the mantelpiece. 

Mrs. Napier looks at Thyrza with ill-concealed 
displeasure. Now she comprehends the meaning 
of the girl's radiant face and shining eyes, her 
abstracted manner to all save Jaek, the odd 
mistakes she has made at dinner of helping herself 
to salt instead of sugar, and sprinkling pepper 
over her pudding; her unconsciousness of the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 97 

rain ; Jack calling her by her Christian name ; 
his absence during the afternoon^ and the com- 
plete understanding manifestly established be- 
tween the two. 

^' However,, being engaged is quite a different 
thing from being married. There is many a 
slip twixt the cup and the lip, says the old 
proverb, which is fully exemplified in love affairs, 
and if Jack and Thyrza succeed in " committing 
matrimony,^'' it will be through no lack of energy 
on Charity's part in taking measures to pre- 
vent it. 

"How the wind howls in the chimneys to-night;, 
it is like a winter evening V observes Mrs. 
Ferrier. 

'' Yes, it has a very ghostly sound,'^ replies 
Charity. 

" Is Carmylie haunted ?" asks Lola. 

" Yes, with rats and mice, whose name is 
Legion,^^ says Ferrier. 

" Ah, but I mean real romantic ghosts.''^ 

" The kind of ghosts who go about with 
clanking chains and delightfully misty drapery. '■* 

" Do you believe in ghosts, Mr. Lefroy V in- 
quires Lola of that gentleman, who is relating 
a long story to the minister. 

" I always make my own cayenne, Mr. Dods,'"' 
says Mr. Lefroy, in a voice which commands at- 

VOL. II. 7 



98 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

tention. " I grow my own capsicums^ and I 
should really recommend you to do the same. 
When I told Lord George Boggs it is the best 
cayenne in Scotland,, he only laughed. Very 
ill-bred of him^ was it not ?" 

" Very much so^ indeed/^ returns Mr. Dods. 

^' I merely said^ ' My lord^ if I send you a 
bottle of my cayenne^ will you do me the honour 
of tasting it V He said he would. Well, I sent 
him a whole bottle. A day or two afterwards 
he called at Lillieshill to apologize. W^hat do 
you think of that V 

" I wish you would give me some/' breaks in 
Mrs. Napier. " The cayenne one gets here is so 
inferior.''^ 

" Yes, yes ; oh, yes ; to be sure. I shall be 
most happy/' replies Mr. Lefroy, rubbing his fat 
hands together. " What were you asking, Miss 
MacNab ?' 

" Whether you believed in ghosts ?" 

'^ I can't say I do. I never heard of any 
either at Lillieshill. If there were, must have 
been before my time. Race probably died out 
and extinct.'' 

" Carmylie is better supplied, then, than Lillies- 
hill," says Mrs. Napier. " It boasts of several 
original ghosts." 

" No ?" exclaims Mark. " You make me 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 99 

nervous. I shall not be able to sleep to-night 
for fear of awaking up to see a tall shadowy 
female pointing at me with a long bony- 
finger." 

" You deserve to have a good fright for your 
incredulity," returns Charity. 

" Of what do the said apparitions consist ?" 

" The chief one is an elderly man wearing 
a grey military cloak, who walks slowly upstairs 
in the dead of the night, holding on by the 
banisters, which creak under his weight. He 
never speaks but looks pale and ill." 

" Who has seen him ?" 

" Rattray deposes to having seen him, or it 
rather, on various occasions." 

"And what may be seen by the eyes of 
Rattray it may be presumed will also be visible 
to other people ; for he does not appear to be 
sentimentally inclined," 

" Then there is a lady who cannot rest in her 
grave. She has been known to show herself 
both in the avenue and the house." 

" The carters from the Redhill, who go through 
the Carmylie avenue, protest they have often seen 
her," says Jack. 

" Ah ! but under what influence ?" 

" Mr. Mark, if you are alarmed I will ring for 
candles." 

7—2 



100 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

" Please do not, Mrs. Napier/^ intercedes 
Lola. " It is so pleasant sitting here in the 
dusk by the firelight."^ 

" Yes, I like it. I am so fond of the dark 
half-hour myself; but it does not follow other 
people should care for it as well.^^ 

" If you give me information when the lady 
is due, 1^11 ride over to see her from Lillies- 
hill.^^ 

" Outside she appears as a sort of luminous 
light moving rapidly along from tree to tree ; 
and at a certain place in the avenue she evapo- 
rates out of sight. It is really true that there 
is sometimes an appearance of the kind, for 
driving back through the avenue from Qucens- 
muir one afternoon last December, I did see 
exactly what I have described. The horses 
seemed much terrified." 

'' It must have been owing to the state of the 
atmosphere. You have heard, of course, of the 
goblin to be seen in the Schwarzwald, which is 
entirely an atmospheric delusion. Xo doubt the 
evening was damp and misty, and the light of 
the carriage lamps falling upon the thick air 
might produce the effect of a mirage.''^ 

" Rattray told me of it soon after I came. 
His opinion was that it was ' terrible uncanny,^ " 
says Ferricr, takmg advantage of the shadows 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 101 

and want of candles and lamps, to insinuate his 
arm round Thyrza^s waist. 

'' In the house here, she turns out in a green 
dress and contmually walks on her knees. In 
the Campbells' time, before papa bought Car- 
mylie, housemaid after housemaid gave warning 
because of a woman in green who crawled on her 
knees into the rooms when they were making the 
beds. This was in broad daylight.'^ 

" Could not have been a proper ghost," de- 
clares Mark. '^ They have no business to be 
about in the day. What is the story connected 
with her T' 

" Miss Rutheriurd, you know what it is/^ says 
Mrs. Napier. She is aware of the by-play carried 
on between Jack and Thyrza. They are talking 
to each other, oblivious of the conversation. This 
interruption will effect a diversion in her favour, 
she hopes ; if it does not she will have the lights 
brought in, and propose some sacred music. 
Thyrza cannot very well talk to Jack and sing 
at the same time. The question has to be re- 
peated, Thyrza not at first catching its tenour. 

" You don't know anything about it," whis- 
pers Jack. " Let that old fellow Dods tell the 
story." 

The minister draws his chair as near as he 
can to the corner where Jack and Thyrza are 



102 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

sitting; the firelight throwing ruddy gleams on 
their animated faces before he answers. 

" We-el^ I regret I am unable to comply with 
your request, Miss Eutherfurd, not being ac- 
quainted with the particulars of the case ; but I 
will, if you wish, relate a ghostly experience 
which once happened to myself." 

" Oh, do, Mr. Dods ; that will be charming." 

Mr. Dods prefaces his narration with a pre- 
paratory a-hem and begins. 

" Last November I was asked to preach in a 
certain church in Edinburgh, and the friends 
with whom I was to have stayed having their 

house full, took a room for me in Street. 

It was Saturday night and I was engaged in the 
composition of my sermon for the approaching 
Sabbath. The hour was nearly midnight. The 
day had been warm and there was a large fire in 
my chamber, which was of small dimensions, and 
being overpowered by the closeness and heat of 
the atmosphere, I opened the window slightly. 
The room was at the top of the house, so there 
could have been no communication from any of 
the inmates below. I was writing and deep in 
thought. The subject of my sermon was what 
language shall we speak in heaven, there being 
so many difierent tongues on earth, when there 
came a strange knock at the window. With 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 103 

your kind permission, Mrs. Ferrier, I will give 
you an exact repetition of tlie knock. It was 
as though some one had struck the pane of glass 
forcibly with the knuckles of his hand.^' 

The minister rises and gives a sharp rap on 
the window, then returns to his seat. 

" It must be merely imagination, I said to 
myself, and went on writing. Then there came 
another knock. I rose, looked out of the 
window, but there was nothing to be seen. I 
closed it and again sat down. Several more 
knocks now followed, one on the other with 
fewer pauses between them than there had 
hitherto been. I got up and called out to 
whoever was knocking to come in. My hair 
began to bristle on my head with fear. I thought 
myself the victim of some strange illusion. The 
knocks continued. I determined to find out 
whence they came and what produced them. 
Had the room been on a level with the pavement 
I should have supposed the sounds to have been 
caused by some naughty boys. I, therefore, in 
pursuance of this resolution, turned down the 
gas, lighted a candle, and sat by the window 
awaiting the result. But my presence had no 
effect on the persevering knocker. The runaway 
knocks persisted. My sermon could not be com- 
posed. It was growing late. I again opened 



104 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the window^ this time extending my hand 
without. Something cold and ha7^d came in 
contact with it. I was like to fall down. 
I held on to the solid substance and gripped 
it tightly, and drawing it into the room ex- 
amined it by the light. It did not melt 
into air or blue smoke, nor had it a sulphuric 
smell. It remained quietly in my hand and 
proved to be — a good sized ienpenny nail tied by 
a piece of string to a small tack at the side of 
the window. It had been left there, I concluded, 
by the last inhabitant, who, it seemed, had 
patronized a window garden, and the night 
being windy the waving nail had been blown 
against the glass. 

" Oh, dear, I thought at least it would have 
been a real good ghost,^^ says Jane, rather dis- 
appointed. 

" We-el, that was the only ghost I ever had 
experience of, and I hope to have no more such 
visitations.''^ 

" Did you ever hear of the Planchette ?" asks 
Charity. 

"No, what is that?'' 

" It is a small heart-shapod piece of v^ood with 
two castors on wheels at the thick end of the 
heart and a pencil at the pointed end. You place 
a piece of paper beneath the pencil and lay your 



BROWN AS A BE KEY. 



105 



hands lightly on the wood, and the pencil will 
write answers to any question you like to ask 
it/' 

" Without your touching it ?" 

" Yes." 

"^ In-credible/" sa-js the minister. 

" I have seen most wonderful answers given 
by the Planchette. I was staying with some of 
my husband's relations lately in an old house 

called the Priory, in B- shire, in England. 

One of the girls,, Chatty Napier, had a Planchette. 
It would do anything for her. She used to ask it 
as to the contents of letters received from the post, 
and it would tell her before she opened them. 
Sometimes it wrote very wicked things. We 
asked it who made it write, and it replied Satan, 
and when we inquired what was the best thing 
to do with it, the reply was, burn me. One girl 
was much in love with a man who often came to 
the Priory, and she asked the Planchette why he 
went to a neighbouring town regularly every six 
weeks. The answer was, ' Don't think any more 
of that man. He has a wife and family in 
Widford.' " 

^' By Jove !" exclaims Mark, " it must be a 
pleasant thing to have in one's house. I should 
take the first opportunity of burning it." 

" We all laughed at this answer, but about six 



106 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

montlis ago the poor fellow died. He was an 
earPs son, and I saw afterwards in the papers 
that a wife and family had gone to law with the 
father and mother to claim an income/' 

" Well, I never V says Lola. 

" At last this Planchette took to prophesying 
the deaths of several members of the family and 
the people died. Chatty^s brother, who is a 
clergyman, remonstrated with her for using it, 
and she said she would give it up. One day for 
fun we said we were going into Widford, and 
asked where the pencil which wrote for this 
Planchette would be ^vhen we came back. It 
wrote, ' in King Jameses room."* This was a room 
in which it was said James I. of England had 
slept. There were only three of us at home 
who knew anything about it. Chatty and I went 
to Widford to shop, and Willie went out shooting. 
At six o^clock we three went to the library where 
we had left the pencil attached to the Planchette. 
It was gone. I ought to say we had locked the 
library door to prevent any tricks being played. 
Then we went to King James's room and looked 
everywhere but could see no pencil. So we took 
another pencil and asked where the first one was, 
and we were told in a vase on the mantelpiece, 
and there we found it. The first pencil, when 
we asked it who put it there wrote, God. Chatty 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 107 

was so shocked that she burned the whole affair, 
peDcil and all/'' 

" The best thing she could do with it in my 
humble opinion/^ says Mark. 

" Chatty did not require a Planchette to answer 
any questions with ; she had only to hold the 
pencil in her hand and it would write/^ 

" Oh, humbug. She must have imposed on 
your credulity.'^ 

" I think she was constituted for a medium. 
Some weeks after this she was sitting out sketch- 
ing and the pencil began to write, ^ Don^t give 
me up."* Her brother thought it was a familiar 
spirit which wrote the answers, such as it was 
supposed the witches of old time consulted. The 
power of evil is still in existence, just as fresh as 
ever, and almost as almighty as the power of 
God, and as spirits cannot die it may be that some 
persons can, in a way, speak with these spirits as 
they used to do when in the body." 

" Then why should they require a heart-shaped 
})iece of wood and a pencil ? Why do not they 
answer questions by word of mouth instead of 
taking the trouble of writing?" 

'' Oh, I don't know," returns Mrs. Napier, 
laughing ; " spirits are fickle creatures, and the 
Planchette had its fits of good temper like a 
human being." 



108 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" I rather suspect it comes under the denomi- 
i^ation of table turning/'' says Mr. Lefroy, break- 
ing into the conversation. " And that is owing 
to animal magnetism. People don't intend to 
turn the tables, but the tables don^t turn when 
they are by themselves,, so it shows that the 
people must hove something to do with it. The 
Planchette does not write unless some one 
touches it. I don't say that the individuals 
write the words or guide the pencil, but the 
magnetism in their bodies is the cause of the 
writing.^^ 

'•' But how do you account for its telling the 
contents of closed letters, things which no one 
could possibly guess?" 

" That is beyond me to explain." 

" After all, we have no proof that ghosts 
cannot appear/^ remarks Terrier. " The question 
is that in most well authenticated cases they 
seem to have done no good and merely terrified 
the people to whom they manifested themselves.^' 

" We have evidence in Scripture that they 
were seen at times. The Witch of Endor raised 
the spirit of Samuel and we read that Saul 
beheld him," replies Mr. Dods. '' There are 
also several instances mentioned in the New 
Testament.'' 

" When I was down in our old neighbourhood 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 109 

before coming to Carmylie, I heard rather a 
curious thing/'' observes Jack. 

" A lady belonging to the village of Marshley- 
on-the- Wolds went to Boston in America. Not 
long ago she was seen coming out of church at 
Marshley, walking in the market-place and also 
on the highway. It was remarked she looked 
dejected and out of spirits. Well,, while her 
friends were recognising her and speaking to her, 
news came from America of her death. She 
had been dead a month before the letter reached 
Marshley, and had been very anxious to return 
to Loamshire during her illness.^^ 

" There is no explaining these things ; they 
are beyond our comprehension," says Mr. Dods. 

The evening has grown dark and the mist has 
crept up to the windows ; the l)linds have not 
been drawn down, and the lanky branches of the 
larches lie black against its grey, dense thick 
texture. During the relation of the ghost stories 
the fire has been suffered to decay, so the room 
is in almost entire dusk. The monotonous 
murmur of the sea finding its way to the hollow 
caves under the cliffs^ comes up with plaintive 
melody. The wind has sunk to rest, and a 
vast curtain of fog covers the heavens from north 
to south. Suddenly a light shoots forth on the 
lawn, irregular at first, then settling after various 



110 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

erratic movements on the broken sundial, wbicli 
is barely discernible. A shrill scream and then 
another succeeds^ which is echoed by Lola and 
Jane MacNab, and then everyone rushes simul- 
taneously to the window. 

'^'^There^s the White Lady to a dead cer- 
tainty/^ says Jack, seizing the chance of being 
left, as it were, alone, to kiss Thyrza. " In the 
other world I expect we shall have other occu- 
pations than coming to this sublunary sphere 
and scaring our respected relations out of their 
seven senses.''^ 

The light takes another flight round the lawn. 

" It bears a great resemblance to a Will o' 
the Wisp or a corpse candle,^^ remarks Mr. Dods, 
confidentially. 

" Why donH you go out and see, Mr. Dods ?^^ 
exclaims Lola. " Oh, whatever will become 
of us V' 

" It is nothing at all,^' returns Mr. Dods, 
valiantly : but he does not offer to pursue the 
search. 

"What can it be?'' asks Mrs. Terrier. 
" Burglars come to rob the house V 

" Gow meditating an attack/' laughs Jack. 

" How absurd it is of you, Mr. Dods !" 

" A mere optical delusion/' says the minister. 

The light after one or two more wanderings 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 1 1 1 

on the grass is again stationary on the sun- 
dial. 

" 1^11 go out with you, if you like, Jack/^ 
volunteers Mark. 

" Perhaps it is the end of the world come V 
remarks Jane, who is inclined to take a serious 
view of most subjects. 

" Then in that case we shall be all in the 
same box,"*^ returns Terrier. '' Will you come too, 
Thyrza ?^' he inquires, loth to part from her. 

In the midst of speculations and consultations 
as to what the strange light can possibly be, 
theories started regarding " warnings/^ and the 
White Lady, and mirages, and other inexplicable 
natural phenomena, Cecilia cautiously inserts her 
head in at the drawing-room door. 

" Will the meenister be here ?'''' she asks. 

" Yes," replies Mr. Dods, answering to his 
name. 

" The ' orra man'' fra doun by at the manse is 
up speiring gin ye^ll gang and veesit Tibbie, 
NicoPs eldest bairn but one, that has had the 
mischance tae fa^ ower the muckle rock at the 
village, and they're no thinking he'll win ower 
the nicht." 

" Most certainly ; tell Thomas I will shortly 
be with Mrs. Nicol.'' 

" Ah, I was sure something beyond ordinary 



112 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

was betokened by that light. I shall never 
laugh at spiritualists again/^ protests Lola. 

" And will the laird be here tae ?" further 
inquires Cecilia^ edging the door a little farther 
open. ^' I wad be muckle obleeged gin ye wad 
speak a word to that sacketie Davie. He^s 
near flegged Rattray and me oot o^ our judgment 
wi^ a turneep lantern. I dinua ken whaur he has 
been sin^ gloaming; but he's as weet as a fish 
and he's hinging by his heels heid doonwards on 
a tree at the kitchen door, letting the watter 
rin oot o' his boots. ^^ 

" I thought Davie was ominously peaceful to- 
night for something not to be np," says Terrier, 
as the lamp is brought into the room, and he 
accompanies Cecilia to the back premises. 

'' I fear, however reluctant I may be, it is a 
painful necessity to wish you good evening, Mrs. 
Ferrier." 

" Don''t Imrry, Mr. Dods. If you wait a few 
minutes Jack will be happy to walk down the 
avenue with you.^"* 

^' Thank you, Mrs. Terrier. Your kindness is 

truly great ; but my sick parishioner must be 

attended to. Duty, you know, before pleasure.^^ 

" Jack has lately got in some new claret, 

which he wished you to try,^' says Mrs. Napier. 

" If you won"*! be induced to remain, allow me 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 113 

to persuade you to take a ^lass before leaving to 
fortify you against the pseudo White Lady/' 

Mr. Dods and Charity proceed to the dining • 
room_, and she produces the claret, which he 
pronounces to be ^^ first- class." 

" Miss Rutherfurd is a very amiable girl/' 
remarks Charity. 

" Very amiable/' assents the minister^ smack- 
ing his lips in approval of the claret. 

" Being an orphan and a motherless girl, I 
take a special and deep interest in all that con- 
cerns her/' continues Mrs. Napier. 

" That goodness of heart shown in you is a 
characteristic of the excellent Ferrier family/' 
replies Mr. Dods. 

"And it has given me great pleasure to 
(bserve the pointed attentions paid to her by 
you/' pursues Charity. Mr. Dods does not quite 
like the turn events are taking ; but Mrs. Napier 
does not allow him to utter his objections alone. 
" Being very anxious that she should be happy 
and having a sense of the responsibility the 
charge of the dear girl is to me, I have thought 
it right, Mr. Dods, to ask what your intentions 
are towards her ?" 

" My intentions !" exclaims the astonished 
minister. 

All women and most men at some period of 

VOL. II. 8 



114 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

their lives fall in love. Some do it in a mild 
way, as a matter of course, just as children take 
measles and hooping-cough, diseases which it is 
better to undergo and have done with ; a sort of 
necessity, though not exactly a pleasure. Others 
again go in for — shall I call it, the malady ? — 
with vehemence and intense passion; they know 
no medium, it becomes a kind of madness with 
them, and if they do not secure the object of 
their attachment, as a rule, they never marry. 
Tn the instance of the woman, she generally 
becomes an old maid, or she may make a mar- 
riage in which she will care nothing for her 
husband, centring all her affection on her chil- 
dren ; or failing these, devotes herself to parrots 
and fat lapdogs. If intellectual in any w^ay, she 
studies the " ologies,''-' goes in for Comte^s theo- 
ries and Carlyle^s philosophy; becomes a terror 
to the village school, and a pestilence to her 
friends. 

Of " intentions,^' as understood by Mrs. 
Napier, Mr. Dods is completely guileless. He 
admires Thyrza, but he has also equally admired 
scores of similar girls. He feels a trifle more ex- 
cited in her society than in that of the Queensmuir 
young ladies, but he has felt more excited when 
preaching on a hot Sunday afternoon when it 
taxed all his powers and ingenuity to prevent 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 13 5 

the congregation from falling asleep with one 
accord. In a slight way, Mr. Dods since he 
grew up to manhood, has been continually falling 
in and out of love. He has no wish to marry 
at present, and would be content to come to 
Carmylie, sigh a little, gaze rapturously at 
Thyrza, and go home, to repeat the same per- 
formance on his next visit. After this had gone 
on for about ten years or so, he might perhaps 
put the fatal question — that is, providing Thyrza 
had not become Mrs. Somebody else during the 
interval — if she has, he will apply to some of the 
other divinities at whose shrine he has offered 
the incense of general admiration. 

Now to marry will be to give up those pleasant 
roaming excursions to various comfortable houses 
in town and country, where being a bachelor 
he is always sure of a good dinner and a feeble 
flirtation. No wife, who respected herself and 
her position, would tolerate the absence of her 
husband during six days out of the seven as an 
ordinary thing, and occasionally the extension 
of those six days in the dull time of the year to 
six weeks. Mr. Dods is well aware of this. 

He loves his liberty, but he fears Mrs. Napier ; 
with her he is plastic as clay in the hands of the 
potter. Breaches of " promise cases '' he has 
frequently studied in the columns of the news- 

8—2 



116 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

papers, and lias often lauglied long and heartily 
at the gushing letters therein printed for the 
public perusal. What a cause celebre it would 
be if the minister of Carmylie was sued for 
damages ! What a scandal throughout the length 
and breadth of Scotland! What a figure he 
would cut in the Kilniddi^y shire Advertiser, 
and what an opportunity for the editor, who 
prided himself on his powers of satire, to wield 
that weapon of ridicule against him in one 
of those biting leading articles which it was 
a matter of fact had given the Baron Bailie a fit 
of indigestion for a month. The Bailie had 
nevertheless not yielded one jot of his ground, 
but he had come ofi* better than the minister 
would. Where would he be in the eyes of the 
Kirk Session ? or the General Assembly, who 
were known to deal severely with heretics and 
other reprobates ; or in the opinions of the ten 
ministers of Queensmuir, and the godly of that 
town, to say nothing of the wide district of 
Kilniddryshire and the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Ireland ? 

He must have gone an unlimited distance thus 
to be asked his intentions. What could have in- 
duced him to take that glass of claret ? But 
who was to imagine Mrs. Napier would insist 



BEOWN AS A BERRY. 117 

upon inquiring what he meant to do concerning 
Miss Rntherfurd ? 

If lie could be certain as to her connexions 
possessing Church patronage he might really 
surrender his privilege of roaming from home and 
turn into a family man. A manse and a living 
in a more populated portion of Scotland, where 
the people would render justice to his anti- 
quarian researches and pulpit eloquence, would 
leave him nothing further to be desired. 

" My intentions, Mrs. Napier/'' he stammers. 

" Yes, Mr. Dods, that is what I mean," says 
Mrs. Napier, tapping the carpet somewhat impa- 
tiently with her high-heeled kid slipper. 

'' We-el, Mrs. Napier, we-el, I have hardly 
thought. Is it not a little premature V 

" Not at all, I beg to differ from you there.^' 

" Miss Rutherfurd is related to the Ruther- 
furds of High Riggs, is she not V 

" Yes, I think she is," replies Mrs. Napier, 
who has never consulted Thyrza upon the subject 
of her relations, and knows nothing whatever 
about them. 

" This is a matter which will require much 
serious consideration and prayerful reflection, 
Mrs. Napier," pursues the minister. 

" Oh_, then I suppose I may give dear Miss 



118 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Rutherfurd a hint, just a small hint, that her 
feelings are not altogether unreciprocated." 

" We-el/'' says the minister, dubiously. Oh, 
that glass of claret ! How it has undone him ! 
'^ This is scarcely the day for thinking of mar- 
riage.'^ 

'' Oh, don't be shy about it, Mr. Dods. I 
shall tell the sweet girl of our conversation this 
evening. It will smooth the way for you, Mr. 
Dods. You will find it come much easier when 
the road is a little prepared." 

With the dread of the cause celebre before 
him, and the terrors of the editor's serio-comic 
tongue, Mr. Dods gives Mrs. Napier to under- 
stand that he will at no remote period, but at 
the first convenient moment, assure Thyrza of 
the depth of his regard for her. So true it is, 
that the fear of what people will say and think 
of us is frequently a greater safeguard against 
crime than the two Tables delivered to Moses 
amidst the thunders and lightnings of Mount 
Sinai. 




CHAPTER V. 



ERRIER has read prayers, it being Sunday- 
niglit, and the fanaily have dispersed 
early to rest ; the women ostensibly to bed, but 
really to linger in each other's rooms, and the 
men to Jack's study, which for the nonce is 
converted into a smoking-room. 

Thyrza is engaged at her evening devotions; 
and kneels at her dressing-table. Her face is 
earnest and pensive ; her hair hangs in heavy 
tresses over her shoulders ; her lips move in prayer 
for Ferrier, and in thanksgiving for the blessing 
of his love. 

Mrs. Napier has just entered the room on tip- 
toe, having received no answer to her knock at 
the door, and waits for Thyrza to finish before 
speaking to her. She wonders what can possess 
Jack and Mr. Dods. She can see nothing in 
this sallow-faced thin slip of a girl who has 
neither birth, talent, wit nor beauty to recom- 



120 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

mend her. Mrs. Napier is a thoroughly sensible 
woman, with a clear idea of the main chance. 
In her own marriage the position Captain 
Napier would be able to give her weighed more 
with her than the man's good qualities and 
earnest heart. She did not exactly marry for 
money, but she " went where money was.^^ She 
has an extreme and decided prejudice against 
any other woman being admired, or attracting at- 
tention when she is present. Should this occur, 
she has a knack while apparently being the most 
angelic of creatures of extinguishing her rival, and 
adroitly inserting herself on the vacated pedestal. 
The discomfited rival will probably hear as a 
further consolation, that Mrs. Napier is the 
pattern of amiability, and the husband or lover 
will inquire, if the wife or betrothed ever saw 
anything to equal Mrs. Napier's taste and re- 
cherche dress, which does not of course improve 
the temper of the eclipsed ones. 

Thyrza is happy, and consequently feels 
supremely good. She has said her prayers with 
threefold zest to-night. Mrs. Napier wishes she 
would make haste and finish, and suspects Thyrza 
is aware of her vicinity. The start of surprise 
she gives, however, is unequivocally genuine, as 
she rises from her knees and unfastening her 
aresSj turns to shut the door. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 121 

" 1 have come to speak to you, Miss Uutlier- 
furd/^ says Mrs. Napier in a grave voice^ which 
sets Thyrza's heart palpitating with presentiments 
of misfortune^ " and 1 am afraid you will be 
bitterly angry with me before I have done, but 
believe me I never studied your welfare more 
than at present/^ 

This is delivered much in the tone in which Miss 
Holt Nvas wont to scold Thyrza^ " for her good" 
at the pension. Thyrza is incapable of imagining 
what is coming, and looks wonderingly before her. 

" Yes, Mrs. Napier ?" she replies,, inquiringly. 

" I am afraid it will cause you sad distress of 
mind/^ she pursues, " it is about Mr. Terrier." 

'^ Monsieur ? Is he ill ?" with a movement 
as if to go to him. 

" Oh no ; I am thankful to say it is not so 
serious as that, although serious enough in itself. 
To be plain with you. Miss Rutherfurd, this en- 
gagement of yours with Mr. Terrier is a very 
foolish affair. My brother, injudiciously I think, 
has taken you into confidence about our affairs, 
so it can be no news to hear we are not wealthy. 
Indeed, at this moment I contribute one half to- 
wards the expenses of the household from what 
Captain Napier sends over to me. If you had 
money of your own in that case, of course, there 
would be no objection." 



122 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" But^ Mrs. Napier, I should not cost mon- 
sieur much/-' says Thyrza, entreatingly, ^^ not 
more than twenty pounds a year_, perhaps ! I 
don't eat a great deal, and I don't need beer or 
wine, and as I am not very tall, my dresses 
don't take many yards of stuff." 

" It is not your own individual expenses which 
would signify. There are many others to be 
considered. Money only goes half-way now-a- 
days in comparison with what it formerly did. 
Mr. Ferrier is not the man to endure the dis- 
comforts of a large family and a small income. 

'' But perhaps there would not be any," urges 
Thyrza. " Everybody has not. 

" Poor people always have huge families, 
and Mr. Ferrier, if he did not find everything in 
apple-pie order, would probably go elsewhere for 
his enjoyments." 

" We like each other very much," objects 
Thyrza. 

" Yes, at present ; but before marriage is very 
different from after marriage. Mr. Ferrier is the 
best and kindest fellow in the world; what he 
wants is a nice affectionate girl with a fortune 
such as Lola MacNab's. You would not like after 
being married, to be told you had acted as a clog 
to Jack." 

'^ Monsieur would never say that." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 123 

" But he might think it. Now, Miss Ruther- 
furd you must submit to the inevitable. Marriage 
with Jack could bring nothing but wretchedness 
to both of you.-'^ 

'' 1^11 never give him up/^ declares Thyrza, 
steadfastly, " until he begs me to do so himself." 

" You ought to see the reasonableness of the 
request." 

" I can^t see anything but that it is very cruel, 
and I don^t believe Jack ever said he wanted to 
change his mind. 1^11 go and ask him if he did.'' 

" My dear ! He is smoking with the rest of 
the men. You could not ; it would be very 
improper.^' 

"I don't care whether it is proper or not. 
I will speak to him. If it will make it more 
comme il faut will you call him out of the study?" 

Mrs. Napier has now verified her suspicion of 
her brother's engagement, of which he has said 
nothing to her, and she is proportionately proud 
of her sagacity. She does not intend to mention 
her discovery to him. There will be no need for 
that. A close mouth makes a wise head, and 
least said soonest mended. 

" My dear, I am afraid, I am very much afraid 
you have mistaken what Mr. Ferrier said," says 
Mrs. Napier in the gentlest possible way. 

" No, I am sure I did n.ot," persists Thyrza, 



124 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

stoutly^ Jack's words in the garret that afternoon 
ringing in her ears like the refrain of some 
beautiful tune. 

'' I scarcely like to strike the blow, but nerve 
yourself my clear, and bear up bravely. Don't 
think me unfeeling if I say it. You cannot be 
fonder of Mr. Terrier than I was of the man to 
whom I was engaged for two whole years. But 
we were obliged to part, and I have lived to see 
it was all for the best."" 

" Say it quickly, don't keep me on tenter- 
hooks," cries Thyrza, with tremulous vibrations 
in her voice. 

" Gentlemen have a way of talking nonsense 
to girls of j^our age without meaning anything 
serious by it. 'I fear you have magnified my 
brother's words into more importance than he 
wished you to attach to them." 

" I shall go mad, ]Mrs. Napier, if you don't 
tell me what it is," exclaims Tliyrza, tears, not 
in her eyes^ but in her tones. 

'^ He told me he never would have said what 
he did if you had not made hot love to him," 
replies Mrs. Napier, softly, " and you really 
ought to leave a little for the man to do." 

" What!'' says Thyrza, turning deadly white, 
all the blood forsaking her cheeks and leaving 
even her lips like ashes. " Oh, why did you tell 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 125 

me this V she cries^ in an agony of shame, " I 
shall never be able to look him in the face again/^ 

" Because he asked me to say it for him/" 
replies Charity, lying with perfect composure and 
heedless of the ignoble character she is ascribing 
to Terrier. " So, my dear Miss Rutherfurd, 
from this moment consider yourself /ree. It was 
to save you pain that he requested me to be the 
bearer of this news/'' 

Thyrza walks up and down the room with 
hasty irregular steps, as you may have seen some 
wild imprisoned forest animal fretting against the 
bars of its cage with longings for the free un- 
fettered sweep of common or jungle. To Mrs. 
Napier Thyrza^s feelings are incomprehensible. 
What can she have done for Jack to have said 
such an awful thing of her ? It must have been 
something very terrible indeed. Terrier is so 
particular and precise. She is ready to sink 
through the floor when she thinks of the after- 
noon and Ferrier^s caresses, such as he would 
only have bestowed upon the woman he meant 
to make his wife, and his kisses, which have 
scarcely yet had time to grow cold upon her 
lips. 

'' Oh, Mrs. Napier, I can't bear it ; I can't, 
indeed I can't," she exclaims, unable to endure 
the exquisite torture of her thoughts in silence. 



126 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" My dear_, you will find some one else^ and 
Mr. Ferrier and Miss MacNab " 

" I can't even think of that. Mrs. Napier, it 
is not true. Say it is not true. Oh^ say any- 
thing but that J" 

^' You will be more yourself in a few days, and 
if I were you I would not let him see quite so 
plainly where your affection is ; wearing your 
heart on your sleeve is very bad form.''' 

'' I'll show him that he can make mistakes, 
too/' cries Thyrza, stung and galled to the quick 
in her most sensitive point. " I'll let him see 
I can get on without him." 

" I am glad to find you are taking a correct 
view of the matter/' says Mrs. Napier. " Don't 
cry, dear." 

" Cry, indeed !" returns Thyrza, with a bitter 
curl of the little proud tender mouth, and a 
quiver of pain passing over the pale set face, 
which would have moved any one excepting 
Charity Napier. She herself had suff'ered long 
ago, why should not Thyrza take her turn at 
it too ? 

" Breakfast is to be a little earlier to-morrow 
on the chance of the weather being fine, as 
I trust it will, for the sportsmen. Good night, 
my dear, and believe me I am your true friend, 
as 1 told you when you came. One cannot 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 127 

always rely upon what men say ; if one did, one 
would sometimes get into disagreeable scrapes. 
I daresay Mr. Terrier will not give this another 
thought/' 

This is almost the " cruellest cut '' of all ; to 
be forgotten as a dead man out of mind ; to be 
thrown away like an old glove or a faded flower 
or discarded piece of raiment^ not having even 
made enough impression on Ferrier to occupy 
the smallest nook in his memory, and Thyrza 
had especially piqued herself on winning his love 
without any effort on her part. And then for 
him to have said it was all on her side ! 

Having rendered Thyrza thoroughly miserable, 
thrown cold water on her dreams of happiness, 
and cast her down to the very abyss of despair. 
Charity departs, much pleased at having " put 
a spoke in that girFs wheel V' 

Mrs. Napier thinks she deserves a great deal 
of credit for the kind way in which she has 
managed about Thyrza. It is not every one 
who, whife removing one lover, would provide 
her with another, more eligible, too, than 
Ferrier, as there is nothing to prevent an early 
marriage with Mr. Dods. When Thyrza is 
engaged to the minister no time must be lost 
between the announcement of the betrothal and 
the wedding. Thyrza will probably look a little 



128 BROWN AS A BEEEY. 

pale for a day or two ; this will excite Mr. Dods' 
sympathies and penetrate to the depths of his 
kind, feeling heart. He will not like to see the 
girl pining away on account of unrequited love, 
and this will bring him speedily to the point. 
It is not probable she will now inquire any 
particulars of Ferrier. Proper pride is an ex- 
cellent quality. The only thing Mrs. Napier 
has to manage is to throw the minister and 
Thyrza together. Given, two people, a man and 
woman, given croquet, picnics, music ; separate 
them and get up a little judicious opposition, 
and the thing is done. 

It is fortunate that this is the shooting season, 
and that so many visitors are staying in the 
house, so that it will be all the easier to prevent 
any explanations taking place between Thyrza 
and Terrier. Should Mr. Dods be dilatory in 
making his proposals, Mrs. Napier will give him 
a gentle hint to remind him of his promise. 

Thyrza, too, is the very person to make an 
excellent minister's wife. She is a grade above 
the poor folks, and is not too grand for the 
families of the landed proprietors to patronize. 
Mrs. Napier has not even reminded Thyrza of 
her dependent position as a governess and her 
consequent inferiority to Ferrier, which had she 
been so inclined she could have done with justice. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 129 

If Ferrier says anything about the affair to her, 
she will show him the exceeding undesirableness 
of the case, and explain how foolish and im- 
prudent marriage without money, in the present 
state of things, would be. Men are much more 
amenable to reason than women. No doubt, 
Thyrza had attached more importance to Fer- 
rier's words than he intended her to do. And 
Charity repeats a number of prayers out of a 
book filled with sacred pictures, and looks so soft 
and sweet with her fair hair falling picturesquely 
round her white passionless face, that only the 
halo of glory seems wanting to complete her 
resemblance to a saint. Then she goes to bed, 
thankful she is not as other women are, and 
Thyrza most of all — poor little Thyrza, with 
her objectionable superlatives and unfortunate 
strength of love and warmth of sentiment, who is 
sobbing her heart out by the window of her 
room. Mrs. Napier thoroughly pities and de- 
spises that kind of woman. 

As Mrs. Napier goes to sleep, Mr. Dods, 
having come back drenched from his errand of 
mercy, has changed his wet clothes, and is 
sitting with his feet in hot water, before a large 
fire in his parlour, a night-cap on his head, and 
a stiff tumbler of toddy beside him. 

VOL. II. 9 



130 



BROWN AS A BEERY. 



As that wrong-minded, perverted, but witty 
Roman Catholic priest replied to his antagonist 
when disputing upon the doctrine of Purgatory, 
" I might go farther and fare worse," says 
Mr. Dods to himself, taking a ladleful of toddy 
and squeezing a trifle more lemon juice into 
it, " I will do iV 




CHAPTER VI. 



HE clouds and mist have cleared away as 
if by magicj and, contrary to all expec- 
tation, Monday is a fine day. The only traces 
of last night^s rain are the numerous puddles 
and pools of water left in the deep ruts of the 
badly mended roads, and the dewdrops which 
bespangle the grasses and ferns. 

The fishing village has been awake and 
stirring since the dawn, for the boats are about 
to put to sea again, and only wait for the 
turn of the tide to start. The fishwives are col- 
lected on the natural pier of rocks jutting out 
into the water, while the men store provisions, 
and toss sails, and ballast, and nets, and creels 
on board. 

A man with a cart arrives round a projecting 
point of the clifi". He has been out to the farthest 
stake net to examine what fish have been left by 
the last ebb tide in the salmon trap, which is 

9—2 



132 BKOWN AS A BERRY. 

fully four miles from Carmylie^ and a slow 
journey upon the soft sand and shingly 
beach. 

In the harvest fields the noise of the reaping 
machines rattling up and down^ their broad 
blades catching the sun^ is loud and distinct. 
This being holiday time at Carmylie — the schools 
being closed from August until the end of Sep- 
tember — the entire juvenile population is to be 
seen at work^ gathering and gleaning the grain. 
They are assisted by sundry tattered Irishmen 
and women who have come over from the 
*' Emerald Isle '^ to obtain ^^ weskits and perri- 
kits for the childer before the winter, sure/' 
upon whom the hardy sea-faring community of 
Carmylie look down with contempt. According 
to their theory _, to be a Scotchman is to be im- 
maculate ; to be an Irishman is to be beneath 
notice. 

The views of the inhabitants of this primitive 
village are not very enlightened. It is innocent 
of the blessings of a Baron Bailie, or a town 
council ; improvements in the shape of railroads 
and gas, have advanced no farther than Queens- 
muir; most of the cottagers burning small iron 
lamps with rush wicks ; twenty years ago a stake 
of pinewood dipped in pitch served them to 
work and sew by during the winter months. It 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 133 

is not long since iron pitchforks were introduced 
up the glen as agricultural implements^ wooden 
ones having been hitherto in general use. 

The peasants and fishermen are usually well 
read and thoroughly up in the politics of the 
day^ reading the debates in the House with the 
keen pleasure of those to whom argument and 
going to law form racy incidents in life. 

It is perhaps this love of argument which 
prevents the disappointed Scotch lover from ever 
following the example of the hotter blooded 
Englishman and shooting himself or his sweet- 
heart, of which several instances have occurred 
of late in England. Such cases rarely happen in 
Scotland ; the jilted individual reconciling him- 
self to his fate with characteristic philosophy and 
good sense. 

The harvest is not so forward as in the more 
lowland and fertile regions round Queensmuir ; 
the land at Carmylie being poor and sandy, 
having been only a short time reclaimed from 
moors and pine plantations, wliile the oats in 
many parts are still green as at midsummer. 

The minister is walking in his garden, think- 
ing of his conversation of the preceding evening 
with Mrs. Napier. It is much more difficult to 
feel sentimental in broad daylight than under 
the influence of champagne; a good band of 



134 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

music, bright eyes, and a little moonshine will be 
found to add flavour to the dish of amusement. 

From the minister's garden he can see the 
fleet of boats rowing off", the spray of the waves 
flying high against the sides of the cliffs^ leaping 
through an arch in a rock ; the golden moss and 
stonecrop on the red- tiled roofs of the cottage, 
and the coarse blades of grass in the kirkyard 
which still hold ^' their ain drap o' dew/' 

It looks an excellent day for fishing, he re- 
flects, reverting from the subject of Thyrza to 
something more practical and commonplace. 
There was no frost in the night, and if the wind 
remains in the present quarter, and the river is 
not too much in spate, he ought to catch some 
sea trout in the Bogg. Then he contemplates 
some ancient stones set upright within a flower- 
bed, bearing some strange inscriptions and Runic 
crosses engraved on them, of which no one has 
been able to discover the origin or history. 

" Will yer letter be ready, for Tammas is 
wearying to win awa' till the hairst ?'' inquired 
Tibbie, the manse-domestic. 

Mr. Dods repairs to the house, where he writes 
a few lines to Thyrza, asking her to come and 
drink tea with him, at six o'clock that even- 
ing, when he expects a few friends from the 
country. '' Tammas, the orra man," conveys it 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 135 

to Carmylie house, and is told to wait for an 
answer. 

"And Tibbie/^ he continues, " I am going out 
fishing this morning. You will have the best china 
placed upon the table ; I have ordered shortbread 
and cakes, two kinds, from Queensmuir. But I will 
arrange these things myself, and you must put 
on your Sabbath clothes and a cap; yes, Tibbie, 
I desire that you will wear a cap/'' 

" Will I need to pit on shoon and stockings ?" 
says Tibbie, who only honours these garments 
when ^' ganging till the kirk,^' while she never 
feels entirely at her ease in them. 

" Most certainly you must. Pray be careful 
in waiting to-night, and do not drop the cookies, 
as happened at the last tea-party I gave, when 
you also spilt the cream over Mrs. Hislop's 
dress. Reach me down the fishmg- basket and 
my rod, if you please."^ 

" Aboot denner, fat will be yer will ?" calls 
Tibbie, as the minister turns out of his garden 
into the street of Carmylie. 

" I shall dine at Mrs. Bertram^s, up the 
Chapelton glen, and do not forget, Tibbie, that 
everything must be ready before five o'clock,''' re- 
turns Mr. Dods, walking up the brae leading into 
the open country, past the Carmylie avenue gate. 

Thyrza comes down late to breakfast. She 



136 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

has a sensation of looking exceedingly ngly, 
whicli is by no means pleasant to experience. 
Mrs. Napier has so contrived, that the only vacant 
seat at table should be one exactly facing the 
light, which shows off Thyrza^s heavy eyes, swelled 
lidsj and disfigured complexion to the worst 
advantage. 

*^^Dear Miss Rutherfurd, what a bad cold you 
have got \" cries Charity affectionately, looking 
at Thyrza^s ^' black saucers^"* with satisfaction, and 
drawing the attention of every one upon her. 

" Ifs — ifs rather bad, certainly,-''' says Thyrza, 
trying to escape from the sunshine which 
pours mercilessly through the windows. Jack 
pulls the blinds down, and hands Thyrza a plate 
with a dainty bit of ham he has set in the 
fender at the fireside, to keep warm for her. She 
is obliged to utter the orthodox " thank you,^^ 
but does it as coldly as possible. Terrier attri- 
butes this to her discomfort concerning her 
appearance, and her eyes hardly bigger than a 
small pea, in consequence of having cried herself 
to sleep, to some feminine and inexplicable idea. 

" Is not the room very dark now ?'^ pursues 
Charity, disappointed ; her plan has failed, and 
merely served to render Thyrza more interest- 
ing to Ferrier, " I can hardly see to eat my 
breakfast.^'' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 187 

" It nearly put out Thyrza^s eyes, but I can 
draw it up a little more, if you wish/^ he re- 
plies. " Charity, Tve got a piece of news for 
you/^ 

" Wonders will never cease,'' says Mark. 

" Guess what it is V continues Ferrier, ^' I'll 
give anybody sixpence who finds out what this 
astounding piece of news is." 

" The turtle I lost in June found again !" cries 
Mr. Lefroy. 

" Rattray made a bull's- eye with the blun- 
derbuss !" 

" Cecilia, poetess laureate !" 

" Oh, come, you're as wide of the mark as 
Rattray's blunderbuss would have been. Guesses 
freely invited and thankfully received. After 
the liberal offer of sixpence you ought to aspire 
higher. Surely that last would make a rhyme." 

" Rose-coloured hair the fashion !" 

" Young elephants to draw carriages instead of 
horses !" 

'' The White Lady visible in reality !" 

" Mr. Ferrier is going to be married," says 
Lola, saucily. 

" Not so far out neither," answers Jack, with 
a glance at Thyrza, which she does not even see, 
her eyes being bent on her plate, " but that is 
not it. As no one has guessed I must tell them ; 



138 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Thyrza, I think I owe you sixpence ; didn^t you 
lend me that amount in the kirk yesterday ? The 
news is, that Gow is caught_, and by this time 
is some miles on his way to Queensmuir." 

" Bless my soul '/^ ejaculates Mr. Lefroy, 
'' who caught him 1'^ 

" Your humble servant. I took a walk to 
the Chapelton Wood before breakfast this morn- 
ing, and when in the clearing heard a gun go oflf. 
I tracked the sound and found Gow calmly 
poaching, and he and I had a tight little scrim- 
mage. He is amazingly strong.^^ 

" Was mon '' begins Thyrza, involuntarily, 

and then stopping. 

^^ No, Thyrza,'^ says Ferrier, " not beyond 
some bruises. He gave me a few playful hits 
with that iron hook of his. But I never should 
have secured him, for he fought as though pos- 
sessed, had it not been for the help of some 
men from a harvest-field, who were luckily at 
hand, chancing to be going through the clearing 
to breakfast. It took four of them to hold him, 
for he was fighting for his liberty, and despera- 
tion gives fresh strength. We tied him with the 
ropes they had brought from the fishing-village, 
and then I started him off to Queeusmuir in the 
dog-cart belonging to Burnet of Carmylie Mains. 
There is no policeman in Carmylie." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 139 

"Nor yet in Queensmuir/' remarks Mr. 
Lefroy. " He will have to be taken to Middleby. 
I hear everything is ia a state of anarchy in 
Queensmuir. Most shameful of the bailie ; really 
should be put a stop to.^^ 

" When do the assizes come on V 

" The end of this week;, I believe/^ says Mr. 
Lefroy. " Gow has been just caught in the 
nick of time.^' 

" Is it not a hard punishment to put him in 
prison for shooting a few rabbits T^ asks Miss 
Lefroy. '^ He has an immense family.^' 

" Not at all. He should have thought of that 
before he nearly killed Rattray/' replies Terrier. 

" But who is to support his children while he 
is in prison ?" 

" I do not know ; it is no business of mine. 
They don^t belong to me/^ answered Ferrier. 

Miss Lefroy arrives at the conclusion that Ferrier 
is entirely wanting in benevolence. We cannot 
read each other^s thoughts; if we could how 
many misunderstandings might be prevented ! 
So she is ignorant of Ferrier^s intention to give 
Gow's wife enough to keep her and her little 
ones from want during the time of her husband's 
imprisonment. 

" A letter for ye, Miss Rutherfurd/' says 
Cecilia, entering the dining-room with the 



140 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

minister's epistle. '' It's frae Mr. Dods^ and 
he's wanting an answer direck. The orra man, 
Tammas, is sitting i' the kitchen waiting." 

'' Mr. Dods is going to have a tea-party at 
the manse/' observes Thyrza. after reading the 
contents. 

'^I shall be delighted for you to go, dear/' 
answers Mrs. Napier, for once with perfect truth. 
" It will be a nice change to meet some people 
of your own age." 

^' Do you call Mr. Dods the same age as 
Thyrza ?" asks Terrier. '' I don't think he will 
ever see fifty again." 

" A verbal answer will be sufficient, he says 
in a postscript. Cecilia, give my kind regards 
to Mr. Dods, and tell Tammas I shall have the 
greatest pleasure in drinking tea at the manse 
to-night/' with an emphasis on " greatest." 

" Let's have a look at the minister's letter," 
inquires Ferrier, who identifies himself with 
Thyrza's interests and doings now they are 
engaged, and has no objection whatever to the 
fact being fully understood by every one and 
made known to all the world. 

" I believe it is my property, Mr. Ferrier," 
replies Thyrza, icily, pocketing her possession. 

Ferrier is surprised, not to say hurt, at her 
behaviour, more especially considering the terms 



BKOWN AS A BEERY. 141 

on whicli they parted the evening before. There 
is evidently something wrong; her mournful and 
"wobegone expression is not that of a happy 
girl rejoicing in the knowledge that she is beloved, 
and looking forward to the future with calmly con- 
fiding hope. He has expected to be greeted this 
morning with smiles, instead of which she looks 
as if she had cried for a week without ceasing, 
and does not vouchsafe the civility one would 
render to a stranger. He determines to seek 
an explanation after breakfast. There can be 
no smoke without fire, and there must be a 
reason for her altered behaviour. 

^^ Mamma, this is our birthday,^' says Hosie. 
'' May Miss Rutherfurd drive us in the spring- 
cart to the Chapelton Glen T' 

" We are going to bring your lunch, Jack. 
Where shall we find you V replies Mrs. Napier, 
not heeding her daughter's eager face. 

" Mamma '^ repeats Rosie, without avail. 

" Jack, never mind about the policeman at 
Queensmuir. It does not signify to us that the 
Baron Bailie refuses his consent to the appoint- 
ment of the party the Queensmuirians have chosen. 
Where shall we find you ?" 

"You know that clump of fir- trees at the 
Chapelton brae V 

" Yes, I think I do.'^ 



]42 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Wellj when we have shot over the covers at 
Auld Chapelton we shall come across the hill 
to the Scotch firs^ and shall hope to find you 
there some time between one and two o'clock. 
Don't be later.'' 

" Mamma^ do let Miss Rutherfurd drive us to 
the Chapelton Glen/'' reiterates Rosie, in a pause 
in the conversation. 

" I don't quite see how it can be managed/' 
replies Charity ; " every horse is busy with 
leading the corn^ and were it not for Mr. Mark's 
ponies we should not be able to get about at all." 

" Uncle Jack, we can have old Sultan. We 
can go slowly. Please do ; it is our treat." 

" All right, you are welcome to him, if you 
can harness him yourselves/' says Terrier. 

" You can bring the heavier things with you, 
such as the beer," pursues Mrs. Napier. 

"Ah, don't forget the beer — very important 
thing that," remarks Mr. Lefroy. 

"Hush, Davie, Uncle Jack is going to say grace/' 
exclaims Rosie, warningly, to her brother, while 
Jack repeats the usual traditional form, after 
which the men move from the dining-room, look- 
ing up their guns, pipes, tobacco, cigars, vesu- 
vians, whisky-flasks, &c. 

Jack searches unsuccessfully for Thyrza 
through the schoolroom and garret, and failing 



BROWN AS A BERRT. 143 

to find her in either of these places goes to the 
dining-room where Charity is sitting, reading 
some letters received from Captain Napier by 
the last Indian mail which require an answer by 
return of post. 

" Jack, is it true that you are going to be 
married T^ she asks, as Ferrier enters the room. 

" Why, yes. I suppose that^s about it.^^ 

" What ! after all your protestations that you 
would never marry and did not believe in 
women.'^ 

" Well, you see, the thing's done now and it 
can't be helped. She's a dear little thing and a 
long way too good for me," he says, uncorking 
a bottle and filling his flask with whisky as he 
speaks. 

'^ And after you said you would not present 
me with a sister-in-law !" pursues Charity. " Is 
it Lola MacNab ? If it is I shall not complain." 

" No, it is little Thyrza." 

" A very charming, sweet girl in spite of her 
unfortunate position as governess ; but. Jack 
dear, is it prudent in the present state of affairs ?" 

'^ She has no extravagant notions, which is a 
comfort," proceeds Ferrier, setting down the 
whisky bottle and screwing the top on his flask. 
" And she certainly is an uncommonly nice girl, 
is she not ? So fresh and innocent." 



144 BROWN AS A BEERY. 

'' Oh, dear yes/' agrees Mrs. Napier. ^^ Slie 
is all that and more also. I am a little astonished 
to hear this because^, do you know^ I fancied — 
of course, now I see I was mistaken — but I 
fancied there was a strong attachment between 
Miss Rutherfurd and Mr. Dods.'' 

"■ Oh., pooh ! Charity ! Seventeen and fifty 1 
Oh never ! Come, it''s perfect nonsense in the 
very face of it. It stands to reason it is 
ridiculous. '^ 

" Well, Jack, I should be sorry that you should 
be mistaken in any way about what is so serious a 
matter. I think she is a nice, good girl ; but I 
was hardly prepared for this. When is the 
happy event to come off?'' 

" Oh, as soon as I have got the poor old 
governor's affairs settled. There is to be a final 
meeting in London in November." 

" But what are you going to live on. Jack ?" 

" Victuals and drink," he returns, laughing, 
" we shall contrive to get on, with strict economy, 
and I'd rather cut and cheesepare to the last 
day of my life than be without her." 

" You must be far gone," says Charity, with a 
mild elevation of her pretty eyebrows. 

^' If you mean I am fond of her, I am. Still 
I allow with you it would have been much more 
prudent to have let things be as they were. How- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 145 

ever,, we shall have about a hundred- and-fifty to 
live on/* 

" Genteel starvation V sneers his sister. 

"That is in the event of my winding up 
matters satisfactorily.^^ 

" And if you don^t wind them up satisfactorily?*^ 

" I shall stick to Thyrza. She will continue 
to teach Rosie and Davie^ and her little salary 
will be a help. Of course it will be her money. 
Andj thank God^ she is no foolish fine lady who 
would whine and complain if she had not this 
luxury and that. She is a perfect darling." 

^' Mamma does not know yet, does she V 

" I have not had time to tell her ; but I shall 
on the first opportunity I can find. She is very 
fond of her.** 

" So am I, dear girl/* replies Charity. " The 
only objection I had was on the score of pru- 
dence and the needful.** 

If it ever should come right, which she will 
take secure precautions it never does, there is not 
one word or expression Terrier can declare she 
has uttered to Thyrza*s disadvantage. Speech 
is silvern, silence is golden — an aphorism Charity 
fully believes is to be found in the New Testa- 
ment, somewhere in the Epistles of St. Paul, whom 
she also credits with the authorship' of the thread- 
bare saying, " Cleanliness is next to godliness.** 

VOL. II. 10 



146 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

'' I say, Terrier, come on, tliere^s a good 
fellow !" exclaims Mark, entering the dining-room. 
" I did not know Mrs. Napier was here. With 
such a bright-eyed attraction in the neighbour- 
hood one is apt to forget such trifles as shooting/^ 

'^ All serene, Mark. I should have been with 
you directly." 

" Have you got such a thing as a few vesu- 
vians to spare V 

" Yes, I think I have. Here is a box. Take 
as many as you want." 

" I should like a thimbleful more whisky in 
my flask." 

" The Glenlivat is finished ; but there is 
plenty of old Islay.^^ 

'' Ah ! this is splendid stuff ! Look at the oil 
left in the glass." 

The ponies and dogs and keeper are at the 
front door. Mr. Lefroy, at the last moment, is 
ascertaining the height of the thermometer and 
comparing the Carmylie time with that of his 
own watch and the Queen smuir railway station 
clock. He wears an eaglets feather in his broad- 
brimmed felt hat, fastened by a small ther- 
mometer — the Lefroy crest — which he consults 
half-a-dozen times during the day to find out the 
exact state of the temperature. 

At last the shooting-party start ; the ladies 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 147 

following in a pony- carriage. Two liours later, 
Thj^rza and the twins set off in the spring-cart. 
Rattray and Cecilia pack the luncheon and beer 
carefully at the back, giving instructions to 
Thyrza to drive cautiously, Sultan having seen 
his best days, and not being very surefooted. 
They go up the avenue and then turn down a 
lane called the '' Lovers^ Walk,^^ shaded by some 
well-grown beeches and drive rapidly towards the 
Loch. This had been a large sheet of water 
about a hundred years ago; but one of the de- 
parted Campbells, seized by a sudden caprice, 
had it drained and transmogrified into a marsh, 
which is rented as grazing ground during the 
summer months by some farmers. In winter it 
is almost as full as it must have been before it 
was drained. 

There are still some deep pools left, from 
whence marl is occasionally dug. Wild ducks, 
snipes, and herons abound. As the spring-cart 
passes by, several coots, frightened by the tramp 
of Sultan's hoofs, rise up with the peculiar whirr- 
whirr sound they make with their wings half in 
the water, leaving a trail of silver bubbles behind 
them. 

The day is perfect ; the air serene ; the sky 
cloudless. A soft luminous blue haze lies spread 
over the hills like a veil; the sun shines on the 

10—2 



148 BROWN AS A BEREY. 

dusky pike-pools fringed with many-joiuted reeds 
and bulrushes^ while the still waters glisten like 
the flash of a polished steel shield. 

At intervals, the shrill cry of a heron dis- 
turbed from fishing ; a pike rising with a splash 
at a fly lazily hovering near the surface ; the 
lowing of the cattle as they graze on the short 
thymy and sweet wild-peppermint sprinkled 
grass ; the plaintive beseeching note of the 
crested plover breaks ever and anon upon the 
sleepy silence of mother earth. The shining 
cobwebs woven by the busy spiders from tuft to 
tuft of " trembling grass ^' and over the prickly 
furze bushes glitter in the light with myriad 
rainbow hues. A large dragon-fly flits slowly 
over the reeds, lingering here and there, spread- 
ing out its gauzy wings, drinking in the dolce 
far niente of the hour. 

The harvest is going on in all directions ; the 
fields are dotted with '' stooks '^ and the figures 
of the labourers appear in the distance like small 
black specks ; the corny ards of the farmhouses 
nestling on the hillsides are filling with tawny 
coloured stacks ; autumn^s " fiery finger " is laid 
on the trees on the uplands ; and the " flying 
gold^^ of the wood falls to the ground with 
every passing breeze in crimson and yellow with 
sober tints of greenish brown. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 149 

Thyrza finds the bulk of the shooting-party 
waiting for her among the heather on the hill- 
side by a clump of stone pines near the remains 
of a ruined peel tower_, and the thirsty sportsmen 
hail the arrival of the beer with joy. 

" Thwee cheaws for the gweat man Bass," 
lisps Archie MacNab^ who, having been in 
London for a month during the season, flatters 
himself he has got the southern accent to per- 
fection. ^^ Almost as good as the ale I have 
made at Burton-on-Trent for myself," says Mr. 
Lefroy, as his face emerges after a prolonged 
dive into the recesses of a mighty tankard. 

Thyrza spreads a cloth on the heather, not far 
from a flat boulder-stone which might well serve 
for a table, and Jack assists her to unpack the 
partridge pies, sausage rolls, spongecakes, and 
other provisions from the spring-cart, she never 
saying a word all the while, either good, bad, or 
indifi'erent. 

Round the grey boulder-stone, sprinkled 
thickly over with particles of mica or shepherd's 
silver, grow ferns and rose-pink heather. A tiny 
mountain burn trickles over the brown earth 
downwards to the Bogg. It winds its way 
through countless heather blossoms and under 
the shade of many broom bushes, running over 
tracts of that odd looking moss composed of 



150 BRO\YN AS A BERRY. 

pale green stars when in its first youth, then 
turning to light yellow, and after that to deep 
crimson, as though some wounded person had 
fled over its soft surface, leaving drops of blood 
behind him as he went along. 

The mountains stand all round ; in the valley 
the windings of the Bogg are like the folds of 
a large silver snake, and near the spot chosen for 
luncheon are the remains of an old ruined peel 
tower to which each year adds some wrinkles, 
and from which each winter^s winds steal some 
more mouldering stones. 

" There must be something wrong with a 
fellow if he can^t enjoy this V exclaims Mark, 
throwing himself down and putting on a black 
velvet smoking- cap embroidered with gold, in- 
stead of his hat. " I am done up. Til back 
Scotch heather for wearing one out against any 
underscrub in China or Japan. What do you 
say. Jack ?'' 

" I daresay you are right,^^ replies Ferrier, 
handing Archie MacNab a bottle of the immortal 
Bass, and beginning to think Thyrza^s manner 
must be intentional. 

'' He was a little dog, he was,^' says Lola, 
patting Wasp affectionately, " and he had a little 
black nose, he had; and a pretty pink tongue, 
and he had a tail and he could wag his tail, he 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 151 

could ; and his tail was behind and not in fronts 
it was ; and he had four legs, he had j and he 
could run upon his legs, he could j and they were 
made for running upon, they were ; and he had 
four legs and not two, he had. And he was a 
little ducksy, wucksy, petsy-wetsy, he was, he 
was, he was, and everybody loved him, they did/' 
" Could not you extend a little of that affec- 
tion to me V^ inquires ]\Ir. Lefroy, trying to look 
sentimental, and signally failing. " The admira- 
tion I feel for that dog is immense.'' 

" Not for the world," returns Lola, laughing. 
" Not if I polished my nose black, like Wasp's?" 
pursues Mr. Lefroy. " Who would not be Wasp 
to be admired by Miss MacNab ? To have a pink 
tongue and a black roof to his mouth ; what 
a combination of beauty ! That dog excites the 
greatest jealousy in my mind. Above all, he not 
only has a tail, but one which will wag." 

" He has a lovely black nose though," replies 
Lola. " Well, if you will do yours with French 
polish and let me see the result I'll think about 
it then. Oh, Wasp ! You horrid dog !" Wasp 
having deliberately walked across the tablecloth 
and stolen a hard boiled q^^, of which delicacy 
he is particularly fond. 

" Oh, the fickleness of woman !" says Terrier. 
" Darling Wasp and a horrid creature in the 



152 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

same breath. Is not that the way with them, 
Thyrza ?'' 

" Were you speaking to me ?" she asks, with- 
out raising her eyes. 

" Well, I was,'^ he replies, a shade of vexation 
visible both on his countenance and in his voice. 
^' But if you did not hear it will keep.^"* 

"Awful haw, twavelling at pwesent, Miss 
Wutherfurd. Wailway guawds are such con- 
founded noosances, and, aw, so confouudedly 
cheeky. Bang one's pet portmanteau until evewy- 
thing is weedooced — '' here Archie MacNab is 
at a loss for a simile, and looks helplessly at Mark 
to come to the rescue, " weedooced to a pulp, 
and all one's shirt fwonts cwumpled, aw, hawid." 

" Would not mind if that was all that got 
smashed," answers Mark ; " but when you have 
got your neck broken you can't get it mended 
again so easily." 

" I always regret breaking one's neck can only 
be done once,'"' says Terrier. " If it could be 
repeated there would be a chance of enjoying 
something exciting." 

" Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Dumb 
Aiiimals should interfere," remarks Mr. Lefroy. 
" Fellow gets more for hurting a horse than for 
killing a few dozen human beings by a railway 
accident." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 153 

" And very riglit too/' returns Ferrier. " We 
can speak and swear^ but the poor dumb animals 
can't stick up for themselves. There is a spare 
seat here/' he continues to Thyrza, unfolding 
a plaid beside him for her. 

'' Thank you_, I had much rather sit here/' she 
replies^ placing herself between Mark and Archie 
MacNab. 

" Do you like croquet ?" she inquires of the 
heir- apparent of the MacNabs. 

" Pwetty well, when I have a pwetty girl as 
a partner who puts me through my hoops and 
saves me, aw, the twouble of — aw — talking." 

'^ Made a good bag ?" she further pursues, 
while Charity muses that in the course of the 
evening she will warn Jack about Thyrza's flirt- 
ing propensities, so dangerous and unpleasant, 
and will also ask him if he noticed the pronounced 
and open w ay in which " she threw herself at 
Mr. MacNab's head. So extremely improperj 
and such bad style. She only thought it right 
to mention this because she knows dear Jack 
does not approve of anything loud or fast.'^ 

Thyrza removes her hat and shakes her hair 
back affectedly. It is entirely foreign to her 
nature to attitudinize ; she is too simple-minded 
and straightforward, as a rule, for it to set well 
upon her. But in her hot anger and indignation 



154 BROWN AS A BEKRY, 

against Ferrier she does not mind what she says 
or does. Hurt and pained with bitterest vexa- 
tion by his supposed cruel, unmanly, and un- 
generous taunt, all her woman^s pride is called in 
to her aid, and her deepest and tenderest feelings 
are stirred and excited. She is going to prove she 
does not care a jot for him, and that she does 
not value his estimation one grain. She wishes she 
knew how to swear, or something like it, or that 
she had had the advantage of a brother to put her 
up to the slang customary among sporting men. 
In truth, she wants thoroughly to disgust and 
scandalize Jack, so she talks and laughs at the top 
of her voice to both Mark and Archie MacNab, 
while Ferrier marvels what can have come to 
" his little girl,^^ usually so quiet and gentle in 
manner. Mark and MacNab, nothing loth, 
encourage her to the fullest extent of her desire; 
Mrs. Napier looks on amiably, seeing her plan 
bidding fair for success, and Lola and Jane think 
that really Charity or Mrs. Ferrier should inter- 
fere to prevent Miss Rutherfurd making herself 
so conspicuous.^^ 

" Allow me to try the effect of my smoking 
cap. Miss Thyrza,^' says Mark, leaning forward 
towards Thyrza, and placing his Turkish fez on 
her head. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 155 

" Miss Wutherfurd weally surpasses herself/' 
comments 4rcliie. 

" By Jove ! But you do look stunning V^ 
exclaims Mark, for the first time realizing that 
Thyrza's pale brown face will some day eclipse 
the claims of fair Rosamond, not in beauty of 
feature, but in the play of expression, for hers is 
pre-eminently a speaking countenance." For the 
first time also it strikes Mrs. Napier that there 
is something fascinating about Thyrza ; some- 
thing good and true in her which men will 
recognise, something attractive in the fervour 
and warmth of her nature which can do nothing 
mean or paltry, or give a half-love. It must be 
owned that Mrs. Napier is not more favourably 
disposed towards Thyrza by this knowledge. 
To her slower colder blood it is a puzzle how 
Thyrza can take the trouble to be so thorough. 
She hates Thyrza — it is not too much to say so 
— she hates her as it is given only to a woman 
to hate a younger, fresher, more interesting 
sister, whom she foresees will, unless checked, 
usurp her place with her chosen admirers. It 
would be difficult to analyse the reasons of this 
cordial dislike, perhaps because there are no 
reasons to analyse ; Mrs. Napier going on the 
principle of instinct and Dr. Fell. 



156 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

It might have been supposed that [Mrs. Napier 
would naturally have become attached to this 
motherless girl who had done her no ill^ save 
the unconscious one of making Jack Ferrier fall 
in love with her. Whatever may be the feelings 
of the masculine belongings of a family on seeing 
their sisters relegated to rule over a fireside of 
their own, these same sisters are apt to view 
with distrust and disapproval the intentions of 
their brothers to go and do likewise. There 
have not been many Ruths in the world,, but 
there have been numbers of mothers like unto 
that one who was sorely troubled concerning the 
daughters of Heth. The misery is that these 
daughters of Heth are so often more attractive 
than those chosen damsels set apart by anxious 
mothers for their sons. 

Mrs. Napier has determined that Jack should 
remain a bachelor. She considers he ought to do 
so for the good of the family. By " the family '* 
she means not only Mrs. Ferrier and himself, 
but her children, Davie and Rosie. And if it 
Jiad not been for Thyrza, Ferrier would not have 
dreamt of turning Benedict. If Jack will marry, 
the new Mrs. Ferrier must be Lola MacNab. 

Mrs. Napier is an excellent person. She 
flirts, but within bounds. If in some of these 
flirtations it has been fun to her, but death to 



BROWN AS A BEERY. 157 

the frogs^ it is the fault of the frogs. They 
should have taken better care and not gone 
within reach of the stones. She is strictly moral, 
and canters elegantly to the farthest point to 
which the Lady^s Mile can be stretched. If in 
her day she has damaged some reputations, 
broken off some engagements,, and left a few 
aching smarting hearts without redress, no one 
can lay any blame on her. When the Sunday 
is fine, and the Fates are propitious, she 
would not for worlds miss driving into Queens- 
muir to church, where, looking like an angel 
from heaven in fashionable clothes, she declares 
herself to be a ^' miserable sinner,^^ and is im- 
measurably pleased at the sensation her appear- 
ance creates among the congregation. 

It is not gratifying to Mrs. Napier to witness 
the love-light unmistakeable and plain in Jack^s 
eyes. He seems more surprised and disappointed 
than angry at Thyrza's flighty conduct. Mrs. 
Napier is vexed and annoyed with her brother. 
If it were possible she would fain be the one 
woman, the desire and beau-ideal of his soul 
to every man she sees. Not content with reign- 
ing over the heart of Captain Napier, at present 
employed on a shooting expedition among the 
snowy Ncilgherries in Hindostan, she would 
subjugate Archie MacNab, Mark, Mr. Lefroy, 



158 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

and the minister, and decide upon the suitable 
partie for Ferrier. Jack can have no spirit not 
to resent Thyrza^s behaviour vrhen she snatches 
Mr. Mark^s unlighted cigar from him, puts it in 
her mouth, and sticks the smoking-fez on one side 
like a.hussar^s cap. Then she places her hands 
behind her back and whistles, '*' Champagne 
Charlie is my Name, Sir.^^ 

'^ Sing us a song. Miss Thyrza,'^ begs Mark. 
" This is the very spot for music. There is 
inspiration in the wood, the glen, and the water. 
* Sweet spirit, hear my prayer.' You can have 
no idea how becoming that head-dress is to 
you. Princess Fatima, daughter of the desert, 
descendant of a thousand Arab chiefs, listen to 
the petition of your highnesses slave. Shall I 
bow myself to the earth '^^ 

" No,'^ replies Thyrza, smiling. ^' It might 
not agree with you so soon after lunch.'' 

" Why do ladies submit so meekly to tyran- 
nical fashion ?■" pursues Mark. " If I were a 
woman I should now like to look just like every- 
body else does. You go to London, and every 
woman you meet does her hair in the same way, 
wears the same style of hat, shade of colour, make 
of dress. Go to Edinburgh, and you find the 
women duplicates of London. One would think 
they were so many dancing dolls turned out by 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 159 

niacliinery. The question is not asked, Does 
it suit me ? Does it become my complexion, 
figure, sliape of face? No, but Is it the 
fashion T' 

'^ WonH you sing a song, Miss Wutherfurd V 
asks Archie MacNab. 

'^ Ferrier will accompany you,^^ suggests Mark, 
" he has a good voice/' 

" About as good as a crow with a sore throat,'^ 
replies Ferrier. 

" Did you ever hear a crow with a sore throat 
sing ?" inquires Lola. 

^^ No, but I've often heard geese without sore 
throats attempt to sing operatic melodies,^' re- 
sponds Ferrier, looking moodily at Thyrza. 

" I hate scenery, don^t you, Jane ?'''' whispers 
Lola to her sister ; " especially when one is 
bored by a man persisting in admiring the view 
and not you. That is slow. Or, perhaps, 
quoting yards of poetry, stupid stuff. What I 
think before all the lovely scenery in the world 
is the pier at Middleby with the band playing, 
some jolly officers to pay one compliments, and a 
new costume from Elise's or Worth's.''^ 

" Pray sing, Miss Rutherfurd,'' says Charity, 
'^ you have such a pleasing voice \" 

" Is it not a trying thing to sing in the open 
air without an accompaniment V objects Ferrier. 



160 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

He thinks Thyrza does not wish to sing and is 
too amiable to refuse. 

" Oh no j it is quite easy/^ returns Thyrza, 
for the simple sake of contradiction. 

" After the opera is over, 

Gas tries to outshine the stars, 
We swells of the very first water, 
Commence with our frolic and fun." 

If there is one thing which Ferrier abhors in 
a woman, it is any attempt at being comic. He 
is surprised and distressed at Thyrza^s strange 
behaviour. 

f( Thyrza !" he says, hoping she will see by the 
tone of his voice that he is not pleased. 

" I canH sing the other verse. Monsieur 
Ferrier, I have forgotten it,^' she returns, jump- 
ing up abruptly and throwing Mark^s cigar 
away, she goes off among the tall heather and 
blackened remains of burnt whinze to the river, 
repeating — 

" We swells of the very first water, 
Commence with our frohc and fun." 

It is tantalizing to Mrs. Napier that, despite 
Thyrza^s swollen nose and eyes — rapidly recover- 
ing under the effects of the keen mountain air — 
Mark and Archie MacNab should exclaim simul- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 161 

taneously, " How very much Miss Rutherfurd 
has improved lately/^ and that Jack should say 
nothing, but merely look grave and sad. If 
Thyrza were really pretty^ it would not be so 
objectionable. But when there is actually 
nothing about her which can be called hand- 
some or distingue, it is too absurd of Mark and 
MacNab. Mrs. Napier feels it would be good 
if the days of the dagger and the bowl could 
return, when awkward rivals were comfortably 
disposed of without unpleasant questions being 
asked. 

But, of course, this is private and confidential 
with herself, and she answers aloud in reply to 
the above remark — 

" Yes, dear Miss Rutherfurd is not at all like 
the same girl she was.^"* 

Thyrza glances back defiantly at Jack, and 
whistles " Champagne Charlie''^ more audaciously 
than ever as she proceeds down the brae through 
a mass of brushwood and bracken. 

The Bogg is full after the late heavy rain, 
and comes down from the mountains with a 
swinging dash and swirl over the great boulder 
stones, the brown, deep waters flecked with snowy 
foam — bells lying on the surface like the frag- 
ments of a broken diamond. On one side a 
large rock projects out over the river, splintered 

VOL. II. 11 



162 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

into the fantastic shapes of a castle with ex- 
tinguisher towers. Where Thyrza stands, all is 
in shade, from the copsewood of self-sown birches 
and rowans, looking as if they belonged to a 
primeval forest, to the very ferns growing on 
the branches and up the mossy trunks. 

Further up the Bogg a flood of sunshine falls,. 
Horse-chestnuts, forming one dome of broad 
golden leaves, grow on the banks; wild cherry- 
trees whose foliage of vivid scarlet intermingles 
with festoons of green ivy hanging on the grace- 
ful boughs in luxuriant profusion; the dazzling 
sunlight streaming in flickering, ever- changing, 
living lights and fleeting dusky shadows athwart 
the interlacing branches ; the lichen-silvered red 
sandstone rocks ; the bright colours of the 
brilliant crimson rowan berries ; the ripened 
glowing rose-haws ; the trailing brambles, with 
white flowers and black fruit on the same stem ; 
the feathery ferns; the rushing water; while 
beyond the brae slopes steeply down in fields 
yellow with the common " weaver," and in the 
distance like wave upon wave of the sea rise the 
mountain peaks, royally purple with heather and 
dark with large pine forests amalgamating softly 
into the blue sky. 

Just below the big rock there is a ford, and a 
line of stepping-stones has been placed for the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 163 

convenience of some cottagers dwelling under a 
fir plantation on the brow of the brae. These 
stones are partially under water, but with a 
steady head and fearless foot it will be easy to 
cross to the other side. 

Mark, Mr. Lefroy, and MacNab are reloading 
their guns previous to beginning shooting again ; 
but Terrier, forgetful of everything, excepting 
that Thyrza may be in danger, hastily rises 
and walks near the river, to be at hand should 
she fall in and be swept away by the strong 
current. 

She forms a charming object in the landscape, 
as she leaps from stone to stone hoping Terrier 
is displeased with her. She reaches the last 
stone in safety, and with a light bound clears 
the space of water between it and the bank. 
Terrier calls out — 

'' DonH be rash, Thyrza.'' 
She makes a little mocking curtsey, expressive 
of her disdain for him, and, the bank being 
shelving, loses her balance and slips down, one 
foot and a portion of her dress being under 
water. She saves herself in time from falling 
in entirely by clutching hold of an overhanging 
birch branch. 

" Wait, Thyrza, darling !■" shouts Terrier across 
the river, " and I'll come to you. Go up to the 

11—2 



164 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

farmhouse at once and change your wet stock- 
ings and petticoat/^ 

" I don't want you," returns Thyrza, hotly. 
" And what is more, I won^t have you. There, 
Monsieur Terrier, go and amuse yourself with 
some one else and don^t come bothering mQ." 

The greater part of this speech is lost in the 
roar of the Bogg; but Ferrier sees she does not 
want him. She swings herself up the bank 
with the aid of the elastic birch-tree. 

^' Bon jour, monsieur/' she cries, and with 
another curtsey she lifts her draggle-tailed skirts 
round her and goes off by the great rock. 

Terrier, after a minute^s meditation, decides 
not to follow her ; the grouse are behaving as 
well bred grouse ought to behave, and many 
a gallant cock " will tread on the heather no 
more" or lurk on the weather-side of a boulder, 
having gone down before the " lean^^ muzzle of 
Jack^s seldom-erring aim ; so he returns to the 
sportsmen. Behind the rock, called the Sol- 
dier^s Leap, because some Jacobite, hard pressed 
by the English soldiers, had in despair leaped 
from the top across the river, distancing his 
pursuers and gaining his life, is seated the 
minister. He has been fishing since the morn- 
ing and has had a respectable " take." He is 
noted for his success in angling, and when other 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 165 

men are wont to go home with empty baskets he 
generally contrives to induce a few misguided 
trout to quit their watery abode among the 
speckled pebbles under the rushes and reeds^ to 
exchange it for the final warm resting-place of 
the frying-pan in the minister's kitchen. The 
minister finishes some bread and cheese and a 
hard-boiled egg ; he has had no dinner. Mrs. 
Bertram, the farmer's wife, was too busy pro- 
viding for the harvest labourers to spare time 
for other matters. Then he takes a long draught 
of Glenlivat with a little water, and impales 
an unlucky wriggling worm on his hook, which 
is disposed of by a wily but discriminating trout 
that is clever enough to swallow the worm with- 
out touching the fatal hook. This has stuck on a 
weed. Being under the impression a fine trout 
is holding it down, the minister whisks his rod 
up suddenly to strike the hook in more securely, 
the line flies into the air behind him, and some 
one exclaims — 

"Don't pull, Mr. Dods. Oh, don't, you are 
hurting me. Oh ! don't !" 

" Who is it ?" asks the minister, not seeing 
any person and tugging convulsively at the line. 

" You're hurting me," repeats the voice. 
" Mr. Dods, you've hooked me. Don't pull. 
It's me; its Thyrza Rutherfurd." 



166 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Where are you 1" says the minister. 

" Among the trees. Your line has got twisted 
in the branches. Don^t pull V' 

Mr. Dods pushes vigorously through the short 
stunted birch-trees. Thyrza is sitting on a fallen 
tree whose stem is interwoven with ivy. 

" Well, Miss E/Utherfurd/' he inquires, " how 
did you come to be in this serious predicament V 

" I don^t know. But I am sure you know, 
Mr. Dods. You must have done it out of 
malice prepense. You have nearly dragged my 
poor hair off.^'' 

'^ Dear me, Miss Rutherfurd,'' says the mi- 
nister, laying down his fishing-rod, and looking 
at Thyrza in a manner which, had Terrier seen it, 
Mr. Dods would not have repeated, " dear me V' 

" You will have to help me, Mr. Dods,^-' ob- 
serves Thyrza, attempting to unfasten the fishing- 
hook from her hair. As is frequently the case 
the hook became fixed more deeply, " can^t you 
cut the line V 

The line is the minister's particular favourite. 
It has been with him for years in fishing excur- 
sions to Loch Leven, Loch Ericht, and most of 
the best fishing lochs in Scotland. Conse- 
quently, unless compelled, he is not willing to 
cut it. 

The minister approaches Thyrza, and as she is in 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 167 

a lowly attitude on the fallen tree, he is obliged 
to kneel down beside her, in order to release her 
from the thraldom of his errant hook. He fum- 
bles nervously at the knot which hair, " Limerick 
round bend/' and gut have contrived to make. 

" How slow you are, Mr. Dods V laughs 
Thyrza gaily, smiling at the minister over one 
shoulder, through a cloud of dark locks which 
does not tend to reassure him. 

" Ah, Miss Rutherfurd, this knot is like one 
which I should much like to tie, between two 
persons not very far away at present," answers 
Mr. Dods, becoming more clumsy in his attempts. 

" A Gordian knot, I suppose," replies Thyrza, 
waxing somewhat impatient. 

" The knot that I mean would be indisso- 
luble," pursues the minister, casting admiring 
glances at Thyrza. It is dangerous work, this 
playing with nut-brown tresses enshrining a 
peach-brown face, cheeks mantling with crimson, 
and a mouth with rosy lips and white teeth, so 
provokingly close to him, and eyes laughing and 
flashing with mirth and sauciness. The minister 
walks straight over the border -land of the de- 
bateable country of flirtation and doubt and 
hesitation into the kingdom of Love. Thyrza 
gathers ivy leaves, and picks the lichen of the 
decaying trunk of the tree which forms her seat. 



168 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

A beech bough with the leaves faded, red and 
gold clustered with russet nuts, and grey with 
shaggy lichen, droops over her head, on which 
Mark^s black and yellow smoking-cap sets jauntily. 
The minister, his fishing basket slung across 
his shoulders, is kneeling on both knees before 
her. 

" You are not coming on very fast,''^ pursues 
Thyrza ; " if you are no quicker in tying the 
knot you mention, than you are in unfastening 
this one, I am afraid it will take a long while to 
accomplish." 

" The knot to which I was alluding is one 
which is not tied with the fingers.''^ 

" What an odd knot it must be !" says Thyrza, 
" how funny you look, Mr. Dods, on your knees ! 
Just as if you were proposing !" 

" The knot is not tied with the fingers, but 
with the tongue,'^ continues the minister. 

Mr. Dods is always some minutes in coming 
to the point in his sermons. It is the same with 
his declaration. 

" I should like to see any one tie a knot with 
their tongues," exclaims Thyrza. 

" Shall I show you how. Miss Eutherfurd V 
pursues the minister, becoming bolder, and almost 
encircling Thyrza with his spare arm, which she 
does not perceive. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. l69 

'' Yes_, I wish you would^ and do cut this 
stupid knot. It is of no use trying to disen- 
tangle it/^ 

"Have I your permission ?" asks the minister^ 
pulling from his pocket a penknife. 

" Yes ; be quick. How awkward you are !" 

" My knot can never be cut, in which point it 
differs from other knots/^ replies the minister, 
cutting off the offending barbed-hook, and stowing 
his treasure carefully away in his pocket-book^ 
" I mean^ Miss Rutherfurd_, the matrimonial knot, 
wherein two persons are joined together by the 
Almighty, never to be separated. ^^ 

" Indeed,''^ says Thyrza, listlessly. "^ So two 
of your fi'iends are going to be married ?" 

She moves from the tree, and in so doing 
drops a quantity of heather and ivy she has col- 
lected, in a fit of abstraction. 

" Yes, two very near and intimate acquain- 
tances of mine. Would not you like to know 
their names V 

" Not unless you wish to tell me. Mr. Dods, 
I have let my flowers fall." 

The minister gropes on all fours for the 
scattered treasures and gathering them to- 
gether, Thyrza fills the skirt of her dress with 
them. 

" Thank you/^ she says. " And there is such 



170 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

a dear little fern liere which I should like to 
take back with me to Carmylie." 

Mr. Dods digs away at a spleenwort imbedded 
in a cranny of the rock^ first with his fingers, to 
their no small detriment ; and then with his 
knife, of which he breaks the point, and at last 
is only able to give Thyrza the leaves minus the 
root. 

" Sing ho ! for a high and valiant bark, 

A brave and tidy breeze, 
A bully crew and captain too, 

To carry me over the seas, my boys, 

To my true love so gay. 
Who's doing the grand in a distant land, 

Ten thousand miles away. 

" Then blow the \vinds high, ho ! 
A roving we will go, 
I'll stay no more on England's shore," 



carols Thyrza. The minister does not find it 
easy to return to the former tone of conversa- 
tion. He will postpone his question to the next 
convenient opportunity, which will be this 
evening when Thyrza comes to tea at the 
manse. Mr. Dods is as diffident and bashful 
as a young debutante ; the words almost form 
themselves and then are repressed. Besides, 
who could put the momentous, '^ Will you be 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 171 

mine T' when the " beloved object^' persists in 
singing — 

"So let the music pla — a — ay, 
I'm off by tlie morning train, 
To cross the raging main, 
For I'm on the move to my own true love, 
Ten thousand miles away." 

Thyrza hums snatches of ballads. No one 
would think to see her gay bright face, that if 
she did not joke and laugh she would burst into 
tears. 

"Now, Mr. Dods, I want to fish," she an- 
nounces. " Oh, what nasty things !" with a 
pout and shudder, as Mr. Dods takes out from 
among moss and cream another unfortunate 
worm which is immolated on a new " Limerick 
round bend " bait hook. The minister adjusts 
the rod in Thyrza's hand, and throws the line on 
to the water. 

" Miss Rutherfurd, since I have known you, 
I — I have found you are necessary to my hap- 
piness,^' begins Mr. Dods. He is holding the 
fishing-rod a little above Thyrza^s hand and 
prepares for a fine cast. The banks of the Bogg 
are thickly wooded, which render fishing a rather 
difficult matter for the temper of the angler and 
the securitv of his tackle. " This is the way, 



172 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

!Miss Rutlierfurd/^ lie continues, casting the line. 
Most incorrectly, it has fastened in a twig of a 
tree on some rising ground. 

" Dear me V' exclaims the minister, checking 
a different interjection. " I am just annoyed at 
that line V 

" Had you not better see to it V says Th^-rza. 
The minister clambers up the ascent and reaches 
on tiptoe to the offending line. Thyrza could 
easily climb the tree for him, and a few months 
ago would at once have offered to do so. Now, 
she waits to behold what the minister will devise. 
A paling has been erected near to which the 
twig hangs. The minister ponders, and hoists 
himself on to the fence. 

" Miss Rutherfurd, I have found you are 
necessary to my happiness,^' repeats the minister, 
elevating one leg from the ground, " from family, 
similarity of tastes, disposition.^^ 

" Oh, Mr. Dods, I don't think so,'' replies 
Thyrza. 

^' If I have been rather soon in communicating 
this, I am willing to let you consider over it, 
and perhaps you will give me your opinion this 
evening," pursues the minister, lifting up his 
other leg and steadying himself somewhat un- 
easily on the top of the paling. He is within an 
ace of catching the line. " Dear Miss Ruther- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 173 

furdj this question is the result of much earnest 
cogitation. I have pondered^ and meditated, 
and reflected, and have been deeply exercised 
thereupon_, and as Tobit went forth to seek 
Sara, who was fair and well liking, even so 

I " Here the fence, rotten from age, and 

unequal to support the minister's twelve stone 
odd, gives way and tumbles him precipitately 
into a well grown bed of nettles down below, 
causing him to pause in his speech, which is a 
little disappointing, he having now got his argu- 
ments duly arranged. 

" I trust you are not injured, Mr. Dods,"*^ says 
Thyrza, innocently, looking over the broken 
paling at the prostrate figure of the minister. 
She is struggling with suppressed laughter, 
symptoms of which appear on her face and in 
her eyes. 

^^ Not particular] y,^-* replies the minister, 
slowly and with dignity from among the 
nettles. 

^^ Six o^ clock is your tea hour T' asks 
Thyrza. 

"That is the hour at which I always 
drink tea,^* replies the minister, with due 
solemnity. 

Then Mr. Dods recovers himself from the 
nettles, and rubs himself carefully all over, and 



174 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 



being but mortal^ though a minister^ gives vent 
to a few exclamations it is fortunate his elders 
and the Kirk Session cannot hear. And when 
he returns to the rising ground,, he finds Thyrza 
Rutherfurd has gone. 




CHAPTER VII. 



HE shooting-party liave returned borne; 
and the sportsmen are standing at the 
front door of Carmylie counting the game which 
is spread out in heaps on the gravel. There are 
hares, rabbits, grouse, and a young roe- deer — all of 
which have fallen to Mark^s gun ; the slender legs 
of the deer are extended motionless, and a mute 
sad look seems to linger in its dead eyes ; the dogs, 
Sidi, Eatam, Grouse, and Dido, are snuffing about. 
Mrs. Napier, in a white dress, tucked up over a 
mauve silk petticoat, is patting Dash, one of the 
setters, and doing a neat " piece of business'''' with 
Archie MacNab and a bundle of flowers, while 
Mr. Lefroy, attired in a new Highland kilt, talks 
to Jane and Lola by turns, and is conscious of 
appearing gorgeous in his apparel, and bricky in 
his complexion, from the sun. Ferrier leans 
negligently on his gun, smoking a cigar, and 
looks out to seaward at a big Indiaman that is 



176 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

just entering the bar leading to the open water 
before reaching the harbour of the populous 
town of Middleby. 

^^ Going to tea at the manse, Thyrza ?^' he 
asks, as she comes down the staii's to the porch. 

'^ Yes.^^ 

^•' You have got yourself up very nicely," he 
continues. "^ You have improved in that respect. 
Don^t stay late, there's a dear. I shall be 
counting the moments while you are away, and 
envying the minister.''^ 

" Monsieur is very good to say so." 

" I'll come part of the way with you. There's 
a rose-bush in the orchard, where the Hast rose 
of summer ' has come out to-day on purpose for 
you." 

" Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, 
Jack," cries Charity. '' So you won't have time 
to go far." 

" There will be enough time for me to get 
Thyrza a rose," says Ferrier, pleasantly. 

" Don't you think there is a prettier bush 
there by the sundial ?" asks Charity. " The 
minister will not like to be disappointed, and as 
he generally says a very long ^ grace ' before and 
after meals, if you wish to be anything but 
^ exercised ' in the evening, you had better go at 



BROWN AS A BERRY, 177 

^'■The minister is a very good man/^ replies 
Thyrza. 

" Oil, you are going to turn out an advocate 
for Mr. DodS; are you T' answers Ferrier, not 
quite so agreeably as before. " If his ' grace * 
equals tbe length of his prayers in kirk, I am 
glad I am not going to be one of the party /^ 

" Oh, fie ! Mr. Ferrier V exclaims Jane. 

" Oh, fie. Miss Jane !" returns Ferrier, inter- 
rupting her in the middle of a lecture she is 
administering on the cruelty of shooting birds 
and beasts in general. ^^ If some people had 
their own way there would be nothing to eat V* 

" Now, Jack, if you will go down the avenue, 
you can't expect me to sympathize with you, or 
to scold the cook when you complain that the 
fish is overdone again,'' says Charity. " Give 
my love to the minister. Miss Rutherfurd." 

" Here is the rose, Thyrza," pursues Ferrier, 
having walked to the orchard with her in despite 
of the prospect of the dinner being spoilt. Mrs. 
Napier would fain have accompanied them, but 
she dare not go beyond a certain length with 
Jack, and any interference between the two 
must be conducted sub rosa. " I am sorry it 
has got rather too full blown." 

'^ I — I don't want your rose, monsieur," 
says Thyrza, strongly inclined to accept it, 

VOL. n» 12 



178 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

but listening to the dictates of lier pride and 
self-respect. 

" Not minCj would you take the minister's^ 
then ? You and he were spooning like a two- 
year old behind the birch-trees at the river/' 

" No^ no ; you are very kind ; I mean not 
kind at all ! I don't know what I am saying." 

'^ No, I don't think you do/' replies Terrier,, 
destroying the inoflPensive flower. 

" I shall be keeping the minister's tea waiting, 
monsieur/' observes Thyrza, apologetically. 

" And as it is evident you prefer his society 
to mine, I would not detain you another instant 
on any consideration," trampling the pink petals 
of the China rose into the ground. " Go, by all 
means." 

Thyrza moves away without answering. 

f' Thyrza, darling,'' cries Terrier, after her. 

At the sound of his voice she stops and stands 
still. It is very hard to relinquish the belief of 
being all in all to him. Of course it was only 
imagination. No man who really loved a girl 
could have made use of such expressions regard- 
ing her as Ferrier had done, according to Mrs. 
Napier's showing. 

" What is it, monsieur ?" she asks. 

" I am coming to fetch you home to-night 
from the manse." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 179 

'' I should be so sorry to trouble you/^ she 
answers, " and there is no occasion for you to 
(;ome. I believe Mrs. Napier has arranged that 
Rattray and the children are to be my escort/' 

" I don't care what you say/' responds Terrier, 
" I shall come myself." 

To this Thyrza gives no reply, and takes her way 
through the avenue, down tbe brae to the village. 

On reaching the manse she finds nearly all 
the lady womenkind of the glen, farmers' wives 
and daughters, members of Mr. Dods' congrega- 
tion, there assembled together, dressed in their 
best silks, which, on ordinary occasions, repose, 
covered up with tissue paper, in mahogany 
drawers, perfumed with sprigs of sweet lavender. 

The minister has concluded his preparations 
some time before the arrival of his neighbours, 
and the table laden with good things has only 
waited for Thyrza to be attacked with vigour. 
Mrs. Hislop, a cousin of the minister's, four or 
five degrees removed, but still a cousin, is staying 
with her family at Mrs. Bertram's, in the Chapel- 
ton glen, for change of air, and is formally 
requested by Mr. Dods to do him the honour of 
heading his table. 

The minister greets Thyrza with a degree of 
empressement which shows his fripuds the future 
Mrs. Dods has been found, and leads her with 

12—3 



180 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

courtesy, slightly out of date in this generation 
of Female Suffrage and Lady Medicals, to a seat 
on his right hand. Mr. Dods pays great atten- 
tion to Thyrza, and also to the viands before 
him. His attention consists chiefly in gazing 
earnestly at her, and then extensively patronizing 
the provisions. 

The meal which partakes niost of British 
cosiness being over, Tibbie, now inducted into 
her " Sabbath claes/'' clears away " the things,^^ 
her face shining with good humour and much 
soap, and her hair distorted from its classic knot 
at the back of her head into a style of coiffure 
which is " a caution to snakes,^"* though greatly 
admired by the fishwives, principally because it 
is totally unlike anything ever seen in nature. 

The ladies divide into little coteries in corners 
of the room. The minister is fond of a quiet 
rubber of whist at a penny or halfpenny per 
point, but the feminine portion of his congrega- 
tion look upon cards as an " invention of the 
deevil's,^'' and would prefer a petition against him 
before the General Assembly, did he indulge in 
such vanities. The minister has also a sneaking 
partiality for billiards, which game would go far 
towards lessening his estimation in the minds of 
the people were it known that he occasionally 
played at an hydropathic establishment not a 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 181 

hundred miles from Queensmuir. But what the 
eye doth not see, the heart doth not rue. Mr. 
Dods' flock are ignorant of the carnal proclivities 
of their shepherd, and black gowns, and time- 
pieces, and other testimonials of their esteem 
flow in with gentle regularity every other year 
or so. It has been said that Mr. Dods has been 
excused for living one day in his parish and the 
remaining six in other parts of the world beside 
Carmylie. The ladies would hear nothing against 
Mr. Dods. He had no home ties. What plea- 
sure could the minister find in living at the 
manse when he had no ivife ? And, now, when 
the minister's manner tells them plainly that he 
has chosen a helpmeet for himself, they study 
Thyrza with curious but not unkindly eyes. They 
feel an interest in the girl who is henceforth to 
dwell at the manse and keep Mr. Dods from 
wandering ofi" to his old haunts ; who is to be the 
spiritual mother of the village and glen ; help the 
sick and those in doubt, and be, in short, a Rev. 
Mrs. Dods, of whom they may be proud, and in 
whom they can put faith and trust. The typical 
future they have sketched out for the minister is a 
Mrs. Dods in petticoats ; a tall somewhat angular 
woman with plenty of determination and sound 
sense ; who would rule both the minister and her 
household firmly. That is the style of person the 



182 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

minister ouglitj by all the laws of reason and pro- 
priety, to have selected. But,, unluckily, people do 
not always fall in love with those tliey ought to do. 
If they did^ and these affairs could be regulated 
by chart and map, or by precedent and ortho- 
doxy, Shakspeare would never have written his 
immortal Romeo and Juliet, Desdemona would 
never have loved the Moor, Benedict and Beatrice 
would never have quarrelled and fought, and 
been so deliciously reconciled, and the world at 
large would have lost an immeasurable number 
of beautiful plays and exquisite character painting. 
Barring those two weaknesses for whist and 
billiards, the minister is grave and solemn by 
nature. One never could imagine him a naughty 
boy, riotous and full of fun and mischief as are 
most healthy-minded and healthy-bodied lads ; 
one could not think of him climbing up for birds^ 
eggs in forbidden places, and barking his knees 
in the attempt ; one could not conjure a vision of 
his ever playing marbles, or cricket, or football. 
His black coat tails and white choker seem to 
have been born with him. He is always asso- 
ciated with the idea of big books and lengthy 
sermons. There is a great deal in associa- 
tion. Who has not some memories which are 
recalled by the scent of violets in spring, of roses 
in summer ? Some old clothes, not the finest in 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 183 

material or tlie most fashionable in make^ or the 
prettiest in colour^ may be treasured away in the 
darkest corner of garret or wardrobe,, forgotten, 
perhaps, but when accidentally alighted upon, do 
not they bring back '' the grace of a day that is 
dead ?" We see again the sunlight on the moor 
and lea ; we hear the sound of the voice that is 
gone; we feel the touch of the hand that is 
vanished for ever, perhaps, and hastily bundle 
away the collection of " old rags ''■' that has 
brought back so clearly the past. Or, it may be, 
some relic of babyhood, a little sock or shoe ; 
not much to look at, but which still held the 
world, in its tiny circumference of kid or cottoi, 
to the mother. 

Mrs. Hislop, the banker^s wife in Queensmuir, 
I say banker, par excellence^ for the bank for 
which her husband is agent, is chiefly patronized 
by the county families, and is, therefore, consi- 
dered the most aristocratic, dimly foresees that 
if Thyrza marries the minister she will mope 
herself to death with her elderly husband in this 
quiet, out-of-the-way, world-forgotten manse by 
the sea. Good, kind-hearted, and somewhat 
vulgar, her motherly instincts discern very dis- 
tinctly that it will be a miserable marriage. The 
minister is old for his years, and Thyrza, in 
comparison with the Queensmuir young ladies, 



184 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

who frequent " Academies " and '' Seminaries/^ 
is young for hers. The minister has not lived 
much with the young, whose society keeps the 
mind from settling in one hard,, fixed direction, 
and, as a man of twenty, his manners were much 
what they are now. 

Mrs. Hislop feels sure she never could have 
married the minister, and she is equally certain 
Thyrza is completely indifferent to him. There 
she sits, looking out at the glorious sunset in the 
west which is dyeing the waters with vivid tints, 
while the minister beside her can do nothing but 
stare, and Mrs. Hislop notices the dreamy wistful 
expression in the sweet eyes which seem search- 
ing for something they never find. 

A little underflow of gossip goes on among the 
ladies, concerning their relatives and acquain- 
tances. Nearly every one in the glen is connected 
by marriage and intermarriage with every one 
else, consequently it is dangerous to make re- 
marks of an invidious character ; the person 
commented on may be an uncle or an aunt, or if 
not, is sure to be a cousin, more or less remotely 
connected. As some one has said, one must be au 
oyster to take no interest in the marriages, 
deaths, and other events in our neighbour's life. 

" Mrs. Brown's cook has run away again. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 185 

This is the second time. It is perfectly scan- 
dalous V' 

" What a lovely piece of work you are doing. 
Miss Robertina!'' 

" I think it will be finished between this and 
the next twelve months/' replies Robertina 
Hislop, laughing. " It lives at tea-parties. This 
is the thirteenth it has been at this season.'^ 

Cards being tabooed as iniquitous, and the 
ladies having often seen the minister's amateur 
museum of old bones, stones, fossils, and speci- 
mens of antediluvian remains discovered in the 
hills round Carmylie, Mr. Dods brings out the 
delectable game of " Quartettes,'' and a box con- 
taining several alphabets of letters printed on 
cardboard, and proceeds to give Mrs. Hislop and 
Thyrza words to puzzle out. To Mrs. Hislop he 
portions the Queen's favourite one, "Bayonet;" to 
Thvrza her own name, the letters of which, well 
shaken up, he places in her hand. The minister 
is deeply in love. Thyrza has touched his heart 
as much as it is possible for any one wearing the 
guise of woman to do. Mrs. Napier is correct 
in saying that the minister is a better match 
than Ferrier. The manse is commodious and 
comfortably furnished ; the rooms lack those 
little indescribable et ceteras, which only a lady 



186 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

of refined taste can impart, but whicii Thyrza, 
with her French notions, will easily give. Then 
the minister's stipend is certain of payment every 
quarter, and his health so good that any insur- 
ance office would be willing to sign his policy. The 
word Mr. Dods has given Thyrza is the beginning 
of a sentence. She spells it aloud rightly, and 
Mr. Dods picks out from the letters another 
word, a short one also. 

Robertina looks up from her work. 

" C, r, a, e,'' says Thyrza. '^ Is it a word at 
all, Mr. Dods V 

" Let me see, Miss Rutherfurd," asks Kobertina. 
" Oh, that is very easy. C, a, r, e, care. What 
was the other word ?'^ 

" My name ? Thyrza,^' she replies. 

'' Thyrza, care,'' says Robertina to herself. 
" Why, Mr. Dods must be proposing, and Miss 
Rutherfurd does not see it in the least. I'll 
have a little fun." 

" Have you found it out. Miss Rutherfurd ?" 
inquires the minister. 

^' Oh yes. Care," returns Thyrza, readily. 

" You have not forgotten the previous word, 
have you ?" 

" Oh no." 

" Then put them together in your mind and 
remember them. I am asking you a question.'' 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 187 

" An important one ?'' 

" Yes, to me an extremely important one/^ 
responds the minister, much pleased at the in- 
genious way in which he is managing his pro- 
posal, and not knowing that the quickwitted 
Robertina has guessed it. He smiles benevo- 
lently on Thyrza, and notes the luxuriance of her 
hair, the softness of her cheeks, and the bright- 
ness of her eyes. That middle-aged proper person, 
whom Mrs. Hislop thought her cousin ought to 
have chosen, would never have penetrated to the 
inmost recesses of his soul as Thyrza has done. 

The next word the minister gives is, for. 

This forms, " Thyrza, care for," reflects the 
astute young lady, Robertina ; and the following 
one James — the minister's Christian name — 
makes her pique herself on her cleverness. 

" Is that all ?"• asks Thyrza. 

" All," replies Mr. Dods. " You have not 
forgotten the first words ?" 

" No," says Thyrza, repeating them by rote 
without the vestige of an idea what is meant by 
them. Her mind is so greatly occupied with 
Ferrier that she can give attention to nothing 
else. She has said the words mentally which is 
convenient for Mr. Dods, as although she does 
not comprehend them, the rest of the ladies may 
not be so dull. 



188 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" It is a question to which I should wish an 
answer/'' continues ^Ir. Dods. 

" Is it a common question T^ inquires Thyrza. 

" Yes^ most certainly^ both common and 
proper/'' replies the minister, a smile of hap- 
piness irradiating his solemn countenance. 
" Three letters will form the answer I require, 
and trust will be the one returned. Two will 
render me the most wretched of beings." She 
must guess now. He has so put it that it sounds 
like a riddle or conundrum. Robertina is dread- 
fully intelligent, and he trusts she will not scent 
the trail at once. When he is able to claim her 
congratulations, it will be a different thing. 
Meanwhile he waits his fate, and thinking Thyrza 
will comprehend the subject sooner if left alone 
a few moments, goes to speak to Mrs. Hislop. 
The instant his back is turned, Robertina dives 
into the letter-box, takes out the letters — Y-e-s. 

" Give that to the minister, Miss Hutherfurd,'^ 
she whispers. " But douH say that I gave it to 
you." 

'( W-e-e-1, Miss Rutherfurd,''^ pursues the 
minister, coming to Thyrza with the sort of 
idiotic look in his eyes common to every one 
when in the fiery stage of the malad}' and unable 
to wait any longer. 

Thyrza has not even glanced at the letters 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 189 

Robertina has arranged and places them on the 
table from which the minister picks them up 

almost tremulously. He cannot venture to 

t/ 

speak for a minute as he sees the answer is in 
the affirmative. Canny, cautious Scotchman as 
he is, the minister is very much in love, and is 
only restrained by the presence of Mrs. Hislop 
and Company from giving ocular demonstration 
of the fact. 

" What queer words you have chosen for me, 
Mr. Dods V exclaimed Thyrza. 

'' Did that answer your expectations ?" as she 
spells out " Thank you/-* 

The minister credits Thyrza with immense 
self-control. Robertina looks upon it in the 
light of a joke, and can hardly contain her 
laughter. She is dying for some confidante with 
whom to share her amusement. 

" Thank you very much. Miss Rutherfurd," 
says the minister earnestly, and wishing that the 
room was clear of occupants so that he might be 
able to express his gratitude more fully. 

Supper being brought in by Tibbie, Mr Dods 
subsides temporarily from the seventh heaven of 
bliss to the brewing of toddy for the ladies, who 
one and all protest they do not like it, but end 
by partaking of it hot and strong. 

" I shall walk home with you to Carmylie,'' 



190 BROWN AS A BERRr. 

asserts Mr. Dods ; the rest of the people^ for the 
most partj having gigs and dog-carts. 

"The children and Kattray ; at least, I think 
Mr. Ferrier said something about coming," re- 
plies Thyrza, somewhat incoherently. But, per- 
haps, it is very likely he will not." 

In contradiction of this supposition, Tibbie ap- 
pears and says, " Mr. Terrier and the tT\ a Na- 
pier bairns are at the door." 

A gleam of joy flashes over Thyrza^s face as 
she hears Ferrier-'s name, from which Mrs. Hislop 
draws her own conclusions. 

The minister goes out to invite Ferrier to 
come in, which Jack declines, declaring he is too 
timid to face such a number of ladies, and 
Thyrza, in hat and cloak, runs down to wish 
good-night to Mr. Dods^ friends. 

" I intended to accompany Miss Rutherfurd," 
says the minister, buttoning up his coat and 
taking down his hat and walking-stick. The 
ladies in the manse parlour may get themselves 
home as best they can. The minister has even 
forgotten his politeness. 

" There was no necessity for that, Mr. Dods,^' 
replies Ferrier, rather shortly. " I came on pur- 
pose for Miss Rutherfurd, and it would be a pity 
to break up your party. Besides, Thyrza, I 
thought I told you / should come for you." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 191 

" I thought — " stammers Thyrza, frightened 
and angry, and glad at the same time Ferrier 
should have come out after dinner for her, a 
time when she knows he is disinclined for any 
exertion. 

" Thought ! You should have thought what 
I said/^ 

And then Ferrier recollects he is not speak- 
ing very politely, and has great difficulty in pre- 
venting himself from wresting Thyrza^s hand 
from the minister's, who presuming on the an- 
swer Rohertiua Hislop has spelt for Thyrza, 
certainly does retain it far longer than he has 
any justification for doing. 

The minister is forced to go back and do the civil 
to Mrs. Hislop, without uttering any of the affec- 
tionate sentences with which his mind is crowded ; 
he can only make a parting observation on the fine- 
ness of the eveniug, and add a few words to the 
effect, that he (Mr. Dods) will be sure to call at 
Carmylie on the morrow. Ferrier slams the manse 
door to, and puts his arm round Thyrza^s neck. 

" Darling, you're just the right height for me 
to rest upon,'' he says, as they walk out through 
the moonlight from the manse garden, by a low 
hedge of privet which divides the former from 
the kirkyard, into the single lampless winding 
street of the village. The harvest moon is 



192 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

sliming in all its glory of red lights over the 
ripened and half reaped cornfields, the stooks, and 
the golden ears ; over the rippling sea_, the moor- 
lands and glens^ and pine forests ; the sombre 
mass of the Witches Law ; the quiet woodlands, 
and the quaint cottages of the fishing village. 

Thyrza has neither the strength nor the incli- 
nation to withdraw from Jack^s embrace at once. 
Yet if she does not, he will probably again boast 
of how easy a thing it is to win her. Hitherto 
her life has been such a joyless one. Why should 
she not be happy and pretty, and have nice 
clothes, and high heels to her boots, and be 
loved like other people ? An odd conglomera- 
tion of ideas, but still j ast as they rush through 
her brain. 

Terrier thinks he has perhaps been rather 
hard on Thyrza, and remorse for his unkindness, 
as well as delight at having her all to himself 
again, makes his voice tender and gentle. 

" What have you been doing with yourself 
this evening ? Have you had a pleasant time ?" 
he asked. " I sliould have thought it was deadly 
dull at the manse, with only that old fogie 
Dods in the shape of a man."" 

" I enjoyed myself very much/^ returned 
Thyrza, perversely, extricating herself from Jack, 
on which he slips his arm through hers, and with 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 193 

lamentable want of proper pride she allows it to 
remain there. 

" When you were away from me T' he says, 
reproachfully. " Well, Thyrza, I did not think 
you would have said that.-" 

" It does not do to reckon on people, you 
see/^ she answers. 

" So it would appear. But I did not suppose 
that I should hear such sentiments from my 
little woman here. I rather think I ought to 
count upon you too ; if not upon you, upon 
whom then?" 

'^ I daresay Mrs. Napier will inform you." 

" I say^ Thyrza, this sounds as if you were 
trying to pick a quarrel with me, but it won't 
answer. It is too early in the day, and, darling, 
don't let us begin by quarrelling." 

"Well " 

" Thyrza, you have not done what I asked 
you," he exclaims, catching sight of a muddy 
rim round the bottom of her petticoat, '^you 
have kept on your wet things." 

" Yes, I know I have." 

" But, Thyrza, I asked you to change them." 

" Well, what of that ? It wont kill me." 

" I thought you would have had a little more 
regard for my wishes,'' he proceeds. " I don't 
imagine it will kill you, but you may have a bad 

VOL. II. 13 



194 BROWN AS A BEERY. 

cold in consequence, your hand is chilly now/' 
chafing it in his own ; " are you sure you have 
plenty of wraps on ?" 

" Oh, tons of wraps/-' she replies, pettishly ; 
" I can't endure being muffled up, and half 
smothered before winter comes. Besides, if I do 
caich cold, it is only me it will affect. You won't 
have to suffer it." 

" No, I shall not certainly, but it will give me 
more pain to see you in trouble, than to have to 
undergo it myself. Perhaps you forgot what I 
said/' 

'' No, I did not," says Thyrza, " I kept them 
on on purpose, because you asked me to take 
them off." 

" On purpose ! This is taking the gilt off the 
gingerbread with a vengeance," says Ferrier, re- 
moving his arm abruptly from Thyrza's, and then 
replacing it^ he continues^ '' Has anything vexed 
you, darling ? What has gone wrong ? Yester- 
day you were as different as possible. Why 
don't you tell me ? Don't you know I shall 
come to you with my bothers for consolation ?" 

" Nothing has gone wrong," returiied Thyrza, 
in a voice which indicates that everything has. 
W^hat can Ferrier mean by talking to her as 
though the terms of their brief engagement still 
existed. He must have a poor opinion of her^ if 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 195 

he thinks she is ready to come to his beck and 
call, and dance to whatever tunes he is pleased 
to pipe, after sending such a message as Mrs. 
Napier had delivered to her. " How beautifully 
the moon is shining, and Orion and Pleiades 
stud the heavens, as they did in the time of 
the patriarch Job V' 

" Oh, hang the moon, as if I had never seen a 
moon shine before/^ bursts forth Ferrier, '' I 
don't want to look at it ; I want to see your 
face. I have not seen it all day ; come, little 
darling. What does ail you?'' 

" Nothing,'' again says Thyrza, ^' there's 
— there's a Bat just flown by !" 

" You've been bothering yourself that I was 
annoyed with you about that cigar business with 
Mark," pursues Ferrier, an inspiration illumi- 
nating the darkness of his mind. That must 
be it. The sensitive girl has been worrying 
over it ever since. How "befogged" he ^vas not 
to have guessed before. Charity has not failed 
to impart her view of Thyrza's conduct. Not 
in direct words, but by gentle insinuations, while 
lauding Thyrza to the skies, which recur to 
Ferrier only to be dismissed with indignation. 
He is so afraid of hurting this mimosa plant, 
and says what he has* to say as kindly and de- 
licately as he can. '^'^You see, little pet, I did 

13—2 



196 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

not like to see you smoking, and the song Mark 
sang is not adapted for ladies/^ 

" Which song T' asks Thyrza ; " ' Champagne 
Charlie/ or ' After the Opera ' ?' 

" Afti^.r the opera is over, 

Gas tries to outshine the stars, 
"We swells of the very first water, 
Commence with our frolic and fun." 

Her rich, full, clear voice rings out in the 
still night air, making melody even out of the 
tune of the comic song, and fills the copsewood 
at the top of the avenue near Carmylie House 
with sweetness. The moon hangs over the sea 
like a huge ball of fire, and " Charleses Wain 
comes out above the tall white chimney-tops^'' of 
Carmylie. 

" Thyrza, I donH object to your doing this 
once,^^ he replies, gravely ; " but I hope you will 
not repeat it. You are blessedly very ignorant 
of the world and its ways ; but I know men and 
what they say, and how they talk over women, 
and how quickly, how very quickly an innocent 
lively girl like you may get her name up for 
fastness. It is because you are so very dear to 
me that I should be so sorry for this to happen. 
You won^t do it again T' with an intonation of 
command in his voice. 

" You shouhl not make so sure of me, mo: 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 197 

sieur/' returns Thyrza. '^ On the contrary, I 
shall smoke as many cigars as I like the next 
time I choose with Mr. Mark.'' 

Ferrier bites his lip ferociously and releases 
her arm quickly. He makes no remark, no ex- 
postulation. Thyrza feels like a naughty child — 
glad at having revenged herself, and at the same 
time is terrified at the anger she has roused. 
She does not try to break the silence. He opens 
the front door and waits for her to go in first. 

" One word more, Thyrza/' he exclaims. 

" Monsieur/' she says, half penitently. But 
Fate in black silk and white tulle comes out of 
the drawing-room, and Mrs. Napier inquires — 

" Was the minister agreeable, dear Miss 
Rutherfurd?" 

" I want Thyrza for a few minutes ; I won't 
detain her longer/' breaks in Ferrier. 

Both Jack and Thyrza seem disturbed. Mrs. 
Napier does not doubt he has broached the 
subject of the cigar so skilfully suggested by her. 
She has no fear that Thyrza will refer to what 
she has told her about Jack ; the very nature of 
the subject will render her silent. She will 
coincide in h caking off the engagement ; but it 
is hardly within the course of events she would 
discuss the fictitious message with Ferrier. 

''Very well, Jack. Mr. Ferrier wishes you 



198 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

to go with liim^ Miss Ptutherfurd. There is a 
fire in your study^ Jack/^ 

Thyrza is irritated — she cannot explain why — 
hy Mrs. Napier's manner; purring and soft as 
it is, it produces on her the sensation of having 
her fur stroked the wrong way. 

" Go, dear/^ says Mrs. Napier. 

" I shan^t detain you more than ten minutes/** 
continues Ferrier, with gravity. 

Thyrza instantly flies out. 

" I can^t come, Monsieur Ferrier, I really 
cannot.''* 

" No one is preventing you, Miss Rutherfurd,** 
pursues Charity, her tranquil voice pouring oil 
on the troubled waters, and gaining in amiability 
from the agitated Thyrza, who is literally playing 
into Charity^s hand. Nothing could be more 
admirable. 

Ferrier must remark the contrast between his 
sister's unruffled demeanour and his betrothed's 
hasty, hot temper. 

" My own inclination prevents me,** fires 
Thyrza. " I am not going to be lectured and 
scolded.** 

If this is the state of things before marriage 
what will it be afterwards ? Mrs. Napier will 
merely allude to this point when she and Jack 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 199 

are next alone. Nothing like striking while the 
iron is like Thryza^s feelings — warm. 

" My dear JNliss Rutherfurd !" she exclaims, 
with an elevation of the pencilled eyebrows which 
carping critics have asserted wash off and require 
dady renovation. 

" This is enough then. Mademoiselle has 
declined to come/^ returns Ferrier, going into 
the drawing-room, where Mrs. Terrier, Mr. 
Lefroy, Archie MacNab, and Lola are playing 
whist, the ladies against the gentlemen. 

Mr. Lefroy lays down a card on the table, 
looks up at a corner of the ceiling, scratches his 
head, taps his forehead, requests to examine the 
last trick, and after performing a lengthy mental 
calculation leads off. He loses the odd trick, 
and there is the usual discussion over what ought 
to have been played and was not. 

" If you had only led something different we 
should have been out,^' he says to his partner 
MacNab. 

" Ya-as/^ drawls Archie. 

^' At short whist every trick counts. Man 
alive ! four honours between us and lost the 
trick V throwing the cards towards Mrs. Terrier 
for her to " make" for the next deal. " Should 
have led trumps, do you hear ? Should have 



200 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

led trumps. When you have five^ always lead 
one. There are no less than seven hundred 
sons of gentlemen breaking stones on the Con- 
tinent because they never led trumps when they 
had five in their hand.^' If people^ as a sensible 
writer has well observed^ would only pay atten- 
tion in good time to their ^'^wads/^ there would 
be fewer failures in this sublunary sphere. 




CHAPTER VIII. 



lEWSI^" ^^^^ i^ seated in his parlour, coraposing 
m&M his sermon for the coming Sabbath. 

The synopsis lies upon the table before him, 
and is divided into three points. 

Point I. The consideration of what the world 
would have been if our first parents had not 
sinned. 

Point II. Whether the virtues of self-denial, 
truthfulness, and generosity, &c., would have 
found scope for their action in a creation where 
covetousness, falsehood, and selfishness were alto- 
gether unknown ? 

Point III. Query ; Can these virtues exist 
unless circumstances call them into life ? Would 
not the virtues in a completely pure world be 
merely negative, not active ones, and totally dif- 
ferent from such as are happily common in this ? 

The minister refers to some theological works 
and commentaries on the Bible, and writes ^^The 



202 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

unities of tliis system of thought being fully ex- 
pressedj and tlie virtues supplemented by " 

A tremendous downfall^ apparently of crockery- 
ware, is heard in an adjacent room, followed by 
a shriek, such as can only proceed from a terrified 
■woman possessed of extremely powerful lungs. 

The minister, much alarmed, rises from his 
meditations, throws down his sermon, and loses 
no time in gaining the scene of action. The 
cause of the noise is at once evident. Tibbie 
has been engaged in returning to the cupboard 
a number of curiously cut straw- stem wine and 
toddy glasses, used on the previous evening at 
the minister's tea party. Somehow or other, her 
foot slipping, down went the tray, and great was 
the fall thereof. She stands with her mouth 
wide open, gazing in consternation at the broken 
fragments of the glasses. 

" What in the world have you been doing, 
Tibbie ?" begins the minister, for once speaking 
rapidly and forgetting all his Sabbath instruc- 
tions concerning patience, resignation to afflic- 
tions, and other injunctions, on beholding the 
wholesale destruction of his property. 

" I dinna ken, 'deed I dinna ; they were sitting 
on the table and doon they fell. They maun 
liae been crackit afore,'' says Tibbie, bewildered. 
She has been only a short time in the minister's 



BFiOWN AS A BERRY. 203 

service, and infinitely prefers the occupation of 
herding cattle on the hill-side up the Chapelton 
glen, in which she has been hitherto employed, 
to the promotion to a more civilized life, passed 
at the manse, in comparatively speaking, a dull 
routine. 

In Scotland all manner of crockery is techni- 
cally said to sit on the table, or " in the press,^"* 
and porridge and soup sit in the pot by the fire 
and are universally spoken of as Them. 

" We-el, Tibbie/' pursues the minister, after 
recovering from the effect produced by the loss 
of his favourite wine glasses, ^' I have to publish 
some pleasing, some very pleasing intelligence, 
Tibbie, I, ahem, am going to be married, and 
hope before long to bring a mistress to the 
manse, which will be an excellent thing for you, 
and, indeed, ahem, the manse, and the people, 
and, ahem, myself. Miss Rutherfurd, my re- 
spected and esteemed young friend at Carmylie 
House has paid me the great honour of accepting 
my hand.^' 

" Preserve me !" ejaculates Tibbie, " I never 
heard the like !" 

And she takes herself out of the manse with 
all speed to the village, and makes public the 
wonderful news that the minister is going to be 
married to the " wee lassie at the big hoose.^' 



204 BEOWN AS A BERRY. 

The fisher folks receive the tidings with scorn- 
ful incredulity, and declare they will not believe 
it until they see Mrs. Dods in flesh and blood, 
seated in the manse pew in the kirk, which has 
not been occupied since the death of Mr. Dods' 
mother, an event which happened so long ago 
that only the oldest of the fishermen remember 
her. 

The minister abandons the subject of his 
sermon for the present, and going up to his 
room, looks at himself in the mirror, puts a little 
" Brilliantine, for imparting a satin gloss to the 
roughest hair,'' on his beard and whiskers — he 
does not grow a moustache, and is clean shaven 
about the mouth — adorns himself in a new coat 
and waistcoat, the latter made after the Mark-of- 
the-Beast pattern, and destroys several clean 
stiff'ened white neckties before finding one to his 
satisfaction. He takes a short route, carefully 
avoiding the long Carmylie avenue, through a 
cornfield by a path which is never ploughed, be 
the crop what it may, the village people having 
a right of way from time immemorial. 

The field is filled with labourers, men in ragged 
clothing, with roguish mischievous twinkling eyes, 
and the rich brogue rarely seen or heard out of 
Ireland ; the women in white sun bonnets and 
linsey petticoats of divers colours, a patch 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 205 

here and there alone showing the primary hue ; 
the reaping-machine is driven along; at every 
step lines of the yellow-bearded grain fall beneath 
the gleaming steel ; like the great Keaper it 
spares neither the winding festoons of the pink 
convolvulus, nor the blue cornflower ; both 
wheat and blossoms perish at one stroke. 
Behind come a train of busy, sunburned men 
and women, who gather the ears and bind them 
into sheaves while the machine, drawn by the 
Carmylie carriage horses, ascends the sloping 
hill, and dozens of barefooted, white haired, blue- 
eyed children, sturdy sons and daughters of the 
soil, true descendants of the hardy warrior sea 
kings of old, romp and play round and round, 
and in and out among the stooks. The sea, blue 
as the sky, is tossed by the wind into countless 
crisping, foaming waves ; to the north are the 
amethyst mountains in good contrast with the 
cornfield, and a cluster of rowans, spared from 
the ravage of the blackbirds and hill birds, shine 
against a Scotch fir-tree. 

Rattray, in red vest and brown corduroys, is 
driving the reaping-machine; this field belonging 
to the home farm of Carmylie. 

The minister walks up the path, with a " Fine 
day,^^ to one person, an inquiry after an invalid 
to another; to all he has something kind to say, 



206 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

which accounts,, perhaps, for the partiality with 
which he is regarded, and his shortcomings con- 
doned and extenuated. The minister, however, 
who attempted to act upon Mr. Dods's system as 
a precedent, would soon discover his mistake. 
One man may do anything he pleases and still be 
venerated, while another may not even look over 
his own hedge without a hue and cry being 
raised. 

" Remarkably fine weather for the harvest,^' 
observes the minister to Rattray. 

" It^s no amiss, gin it ^11 hand up," replies 
Rattray, with caution. 

" Have the gentlemen at Carmylie gone out 
shooting ?" the minister inquires. 

" Maister Lefroy, and Maister Mark, and the. 
lad MacNab, but I^m no sae sure aboot the 
laird." 

" The ladies, are they at home ?" 

" They maun be, for there's nae beast tae tak' 
them aboot, ginna it be Sultan. Ye'll find them 
at that daft-like game they ca' croquet, aye 
walking up and doon a bit grass-plat and never 
winning any further." 

" I am glad to observe you have revived from 
Govv^s attack. When docs the trial come on ?" 

" Upon Friday first. Tm gaein till Middleby 
wi' the laird tae gie witness." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 207 

" I fear, Rattray, you are not looking upon 
this matter from a Christian point of view." 

" Noo, Mr. Dods/' says Rattray, brushing a 
fly off one of the horse^s heads. ^' Tm thinking 
gin you had felt a muckle stick gripping you 
roond yer ribs ye wadna hae thocht muckle 
about Providence here nor there, nor Christians 
either ; and it^s to be houpit Gow will catch it. 
I wad think shame till myself if I forgave him 
the like o' that.'' 

Rattray is incorrigible. The minister knows 
it is useless to remonstrate. He is like the 
Yorkshireman, who said if he died he would 
make it up with his enemy; but if he got well, 
he would " go at un again.'"' 

"Ahem, Rattray. Well, you will not antici- 
pate what I am about to relate.'' 
" Na ; I daursay, no." 

*^ I trust within a limited space of time you 
will see a lady ruling over the manse. Rattray, 
I am going to eschew single life from hence- 
forth." 

" Dear keep me ! Catched at last !" exclaims 
Rattray, amazed out of all politeness and reve- 
rence for the minister. " Wha the deil will be 
tae tak' ye ; leastways wha will it be ?" correct- 
ing himself. 

" Miss Thyrza Rutherfurd," replies the 



208 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

minister^, excusing Kattray^s profane language in 
consideration of his excitement. 

" No possible V says Rattray with more 
candour than civility. ^' That bit lassie V Aweel, 
Maister Dods, here^s my best wushes till ye 
baith. Whist, woa, Sandy man/' to the horse, 
and the machine proceeds on its way. 

The minister continues his walk to Carmylie. 
The ladies, avS Rattray has said, are on the 
croquet-lawn; but in the absence of the gentle- 
men, the game lacks interest. There is not 
much amusement in playing when there is no one 
to flirt with or to admire a brilliant shot, and 
the black-coated figure of Mr. Dods is more 
heartily welcomed than it would have been had 
Mark and Mr. Lefroy been at hand. 

"The laird is no at hame," replies Cecilia, 
pointedly. " He's doon by at the hairst 
field.'' 

The minister explains his business is not with 
Ferrier but with Mrs. Napier, and Cecilia ac- 
cordingly fetches her from the croquet-green to 
the drawing-room. 

" I thought, Mrs. Napier," observes Mr. Dods, 
" that after your kindness to me on the evening 
of Sunday last, you would be pleased to hear I 
have proposed to Miss Rutherfurd, and have 
been accepted by her." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 209 

'^ This gives me the greatest pleasure, Mr. 
Dods/' replies Charity _, cordially. 

" I should like to see Miss Eutherfurd/' pur- 
sues the minister. 

" She is upstairs, but I will go and send her 
to jou/' returns Charity with alacrity. 

Thyrza is in the schoolroom, hearing the 
children's lessons, Davie conning " N. Dominus, 
G, Domini, D. Domino,^^ and Rosie poring over 
a long- division sum, which taxes the powers of 
both mistress and pupil. Davie twists his face 
into a grimace, such as can be most successfully 
achieved by a snub nose and wide mouth. 

" He^s making faces at me,"*^ murmurs Rosie. 

Thyrza looks up to threaten Davie, but his 
countenance presents an appearance of seraphic 
peace. 

^^ Rosie tells stories,^^ says Davie with another 
distortion resembling the gargoyles on a church. 

" I don't ; it's you.'' 

«'Tis." 

" 'Tisn't." 

The advantage always lies with the one who 
asserts. Thyrza interferes with a command of 
silence. 

" My dear, Mr. Dods is here," observes 
Charity, coming into the schoolroom. 

" Mr. Dods ! and wantmg me !" 

VOL. II. 14 



210 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Yes, of course." 

*' What can he want ? He can't have come 
to propose V* with a nervous laugh. 

" No, there is no need of that. He has done 
it already.''^ 

" Proposed to me ! he never did.'' 

" He must have done so. He has come up to tell 
me he has proposed to you and that you have ac- 
cepted him, and most naturally wishes to see you 
to talk over your plans. My dear, I wish you 
joy. You have done very well for yourself" 

Thyrza puts her hand up to her forehead 
with a puzzled look. All at once the words 
' Thyrza, care for James,' which the minister gave 
her to find out, come across her. 

" Mr. Terrier is delighted," says Charity. Yes, 
at getting rid of her so well. Thyrza quite 
believes he is charmed to have shuffled out of it. 
If she could only like the minister as well as she 
does Terrier, how smooth her path would be ; but 
having once loved Jack, she cannot change as 
easily as he has done. She will try though to 
root it out as if it were a noxious weed and 
strive to the uttermost to forget the happiness of 
the hour spent in the garret with Terrier on 
Sunday afternoon, "■ Mr. Dods is in the drawing- 
room," adds Charity. 

" I can't come just now, Mrs, Napier," an- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 211 

swers Thyrza, " the children are in the middle of 
their lessons." 

" But it is rather hard on the poor man," re- 
marks Mrs. Napier. She has never thought how 
hard it is for Ferrier and Thyrza to part, and 
has no pity whatever to shower on them. 

" It gets the children into bad habits to in- 
terrupt the lesson hours/^ pursues Thyrza, taking 
a leaf out of Charity^s own book and paying her 
back in the coin she has plentifully bestowed on her. 

" Mr. Dods will perhaps be offended," pleads 
Charity; she pleads now to serve her own ends. 
The minister may back out of his bargain and 
leave Thyrza on her hands. " I will excuse the 
children their lessons this morning." 

'' Let him be offended then," says Thyrza. 
^' No, Mrs. Napier, it unsettles the children to 
give them so many holidays. I shall finish their 
lessons before moving from this room to see Mr. 
Dods. If he will not wait until I am ready, he 
may go." 

Mrs. Napier has yet to learn that there is 
nothing more determined or fiercer upon earth 
than a gentle warm-hearted woman driven to 
bay. For one she loved and who treated her 
kindly, Thyrza would go through fire and water. 
A few soft words melt her at once, though 
" all the king^s horses and all the king's men," 

14—2 



212 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

could not,, if accompanied by violence,, turn her 
one inch from her resolution. 

" But what am I to say to the minister T' 
asks Mrs. Napier^ fairly at a loss. 

" Ohj say anything ; say I have got a fit^ or 
have become insane, and that I shall be out of 
the schoolroom at twelve o^clock. He ought not 
to have presumed on those ridiculous letter s."*^ 

'^ My dear, just let me say this, the minister 
is not a person to be lightly thought of, and so 
do change your dress before seeing him, and part 
your hair in the middle." 

'^ He is not worth having, if he only likes me 
for the sake of my clothes and neat habits/'' 
replies Thyrza, ruffling her hair up, " 1 shall go 
as I am. I hope he does not think I have got 
any old uncles or aunts ready to die off and 
leave me their money; because I have not. You 
had better tell him they never 'stumped up^ for 
my father and mother, and they would see me in 
the workhouse before they ^stumped up' forme.'' 

^' Where did you pick up that expression, my 
dear ? Mr. Dods will not approve of it." 

" I got Archie MacNab to instruct me in a 
little slang for future use." 

" I am sure Mr. MacNab would dislike it." 

" Oh, Archie is not half bad fun if he were not 
so conceited," answers Thyrza, secretly rejoiced 



BROWN AS A BEERY. 213 

at the dismayed expression of Mrs. Napier's 
placid face. " But don't be afraid, Mrs. Napier, 
I don't want to catcli the heir of the MacNabs ; 
he wants too much adoration for me to go in for 
him. The minister, what is his name ? Oh, 
James. Well, darling James will wonder why 
you have not gone back to the drawing-room. 
Tell him I am waiting with the utmost delight 
for the hour when I shall meet him. Now, Rosie, 
it's of no use crying over that sum, because it 
must be done. I'll rule it out and you can 
begin again." 

" Miss Rutherfurd is cross," replies Rosie. 

" I think I know some one who is too," 
replies Thyrza, feeling that the child's remark is 
correct, and laughing in spite of her annoyance. 
" Rosie, dear, the surest way to make persons 
in a bad temper is to say they are cross." 

Mrs. Napier, finding it hopeless to pursue the 
argument further with Thyrza, retires somewhat 
discomfited to the minister with the assurance 
that she will come to him when the children 
have finished school. 

Ferrier has tried in vain to have a few more 
words with Thyi'za, and after breakfast, instead 
of going out shooting, lounges lazily about the 
grounds, waiting for her to walk out with the 
twins. As the minister appears in the avenue, 



214 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

lie hides himself in the wood among the treeSj 
through a gap of which there is a view of the 
cornfield. The labourers are collected in a knot 
round Rattray^ who is relating graphically the 
news of the minister's approaching marriage. 
Ferrier leaps over the fence dividing the wood 
from the field, and goes along to see what has 
happened and if there has been an accident. 

" What is up, Rattray ? Any one hurt ?" 

" Na, no that I ken o'. I was speiring at 
them here gin they had heard the meenister is 
tin be married/^ 

" Oh, ah/' says Ferrier. " And who is the 
benighted individual who has fallen victim to 
the charms of Mr. Dods ?'' 

'^ Aweel, that^s exackly fat we're upon the 
subjeck o\ It^s Miss Rutherfurd, that teaches 
Davie and Rosie.'* 

" You\e got hold of the wrong end of the 
story," exclaims Ferrier. 

^' Na, I hevna ; but maybe the meenister has." 

Ferrier says nothing further ; but strides away 
over the stubble to Carmylie. 

" Fat fast the laird is walking !" remarks a 
discriminating damsel, pausing to look after 
Ferrier, with an armful of corn in her apron. 

" There's nane like them that^s in luve, ye 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 215 

ken/' observes Rattray^ with a wink which sets 
the girl off laughing, and then the people begin 
work again. " Tibbie, gin ye''re wantin^ to be 
married ye maun no be ower forrad nor yet ower 
cauld, but hing back a little ; and when the lad 
comes encourage him a wee, and then draw in 
yer horns, and gin he's flegged pit them oot and 
bring him back. That's the way tae do it.'' 

As Ferrier reaches the house Wasp runs to 
the schoolroom, and sitting down on the mat 
taps at the door with his tail, a sign he wishes 
for admittance. 

" There's Wasp knocking to be let in," says 
Rosie, with a sigh over the length of the sum 
and the fineness of the day. 

" I'll let him in myself," replies Thyrza, 
knowing that Rosie occasionally rushes off and 
s difficult to capture when tired of her lessons. 
'' Come in Wasp." 

" I am coming into the schoolroom too, 
Thyrza, so don't shut the door," calls Terrier, 
proceeding down the passage as though he wore 
seven-leagued boots. Thyrza looks to see if 
there is bolt or key, but there is none, and if 
there were she would not have had time to make 
use of either, for Ferrier is in the room before 
she can utter an objection. 



216 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" I am too busy to speak to you^ monsieur/' 
she says, at once. " Mr. Dods is in the drawing- 
room ; he has come to see me.'' 

" Thyrza, I want to know the meaning of 
what I heard this moment from Rattray in the 
cornfield. Mind, like a fond lover as I am, I 
do not for one moment believe it. The old man 
must have got hold of the wrong end of the 
story." 

" What did he tell you ?" 

"He told me you are going to be married to 
Mr. Dods. Of course it is untrue and absurd ; 
but I don't like such reports to be spread 
abroad, and I shall just go to old Dods and 
contradict it." 

" You had better wait until you are sure it is 
incorrect.'* 

" Thyrza !" says Ferrier. 

There is a world of tenderness and sadness^ 
and displeasure, conveyed in that single word. 

" I am going to make our engagement public 
that there may be no more of this nonsense," he 
goes on. " I suppose Dods proposed to you, and 
you naturally refused him, and somehow the 
story got about. Was not that how it was^ 
darling ?" 

If he would only not call her " darling" 
Thyrza would find it easier to keep np her 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 217 

resentment. As Queen Mary said, the name 
Calais was branded on her heart, so Thyrza 
thinks Ferrier^s words are imprinted in red-hot 
characters on the tablets of her memory, from 
which nothing will ever erase them. Terrier, 
unwilling to imagine her altered in any way, 
devises and frames vail manner of excuses for 
her. 

" How long have we been engaged ?" she 
asked. 

" Since four o^ clock on Sunday afternoon ; 
it is now half-past eleven o^clock on Tuesday 
morning ; nea7'ly forty-three hours. Have you 
found them wearisome T' 

" Dreadfully V' says Thyrza. '' And monsieur 
is mistaken ; we never were engaged.^^ 

^' You may as well say we never sat in the 
garret, and that you did not cry, and I never 
kissed you." 

" jN'o, we never were," continues Thyrza ; " or 
if we were engaged I give you back your pro- 
mise now. From this moment consider yourself 
free," quoting Mrs. Napier^s expression. 

" Thyrza, there must be some mistake." 

"No, monsieur, the only mistake was that we 
ever thought for an instant of being engaged. 
But we have remedied that, and I am going to 
be married to Mr. Dods." 



218 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

'^ Suppose I won^t let you take back your 
promise/^ says Terrier, a red flush mounting 
over his bronzed face, and placing both his hands 
on Thyrza^s shoulder, he looks right into the 
depths of her eyes. " You are trying me to see 
what I will say, and as I told you before, I think 
it is a bad jest, or if you have changed you have 
changed very suddenly/'' 

" Yes, that^s it. I have changed,^' she replies, 
telling an untruth which does not come glibly 
to her tongue, for she loves Ferrier with all 
the powers of her heart, and soul, and strength, 
but her pride will not allow her to acknowledge 
it to the man who, she imagines, could make her a 
joke among his companions. " I can change as 
well as you, monsieur,^^ she laughs, gaily ; " our 
sex is variable, you know.''^ 

" You have not really changed, have you, 
Thyrza?" 

" Miss Rutherfurd,''^ she says, correcting him. 

" Thyrza,'''' he continues, regardless of her in- 
terruption, " why have you changed ?" 

" Because I never liked you. It was an 
amusement to me to see you make love.^' 

" An amusement you won't have much more 
of from me. You must have known on Sunday 
you were acting badly and dishonourably.^^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 219 

'^ Oh yes ; quite well. I want you to think 
badly of me." 

" Are you actually going to marry that in- 
fernal old Dods ? I beg your pardon^ but why 
should the devil have all the most expressive 
words to himself ?'' 

" Why not r 

" Because Dods is not the sort of man to catch 
the fancy of a girl like jon/' 

^' He is such a good, religious man V answers 
Thyrza, tantalizingly. 

'^ You might at least have spared me that 
taunt, Thyrza," says Jack. 

" I shan't spare you anything if I can 
help it/' returns Thyrza, scornfully, " after what 
you have said of me, if you had the feelings of 
an ordinary man — I have ceased to expect the 
consideration of a gentleman from you — you 
would at once leave, and understand it is best 
we should have nothing more to do with each 
other.'' 

If Thyrza does not mistake, this will " fetch" 
Ferrier. She has not erred. It does " fetch" 
him. 

'^ By Jove !" he exclaims, with kindling eyes, 
roused at last to anger, and loosening his hold 
of Thyrza's shoulders, ^^ you may bless your 



220 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

luck that you are a woman ! If you had been 
a man_, you would not have the chance to say 
that twice. Thyrza^ if this be true, you must 
admit you have behaved shamefully to me. Dods 
and you must have been carrying on for some 
time." 

Even yet he is willing to make allowances 
for her; the one woman who has of late 
alone been able to fill his life with a sort 
of glory and rapture ; even yet_, if she said 
the word, he would gladly blot out her harsh 
expressions. 

He has moved to the door^ and stands with 
the handle in his hand — is it not Eugenie de 
Guerin who says what a pathetic story might be 
constructed out of the experience of a door- 
handle, and the emotion of those who have 
clasped it ? — and tries once more. 

'' I am surely not to understand that we are 
to part_, Thyrza V he inquires_, still speaking 
kindly. 

" Certainly, monsieur ; you must be stupid 
indeed not to comprehend what I have said," 
replies Thyrza, infinitely pleased that she can 
make him feel. 

" I suppose T must be," he answered, some- 
what sadly. This little stray Bohemian, in spite 
of her deficiency in that quality of neat- 



BllOWN AS A BERRY. 221 

ness whicli Ferrier thinks so specially desirable 
in women, has tAvined herself so closely round 
his heartstrings, that it will be next to impos- 
sible to tear her thence, " but you are enough to 
drive a fellow mad ! I can have but one wish 
concerning you, and that wish is, that you may 
be happy. If I must resign you, I could have 
given you up more easily, almost to any one than 
Dods, who is old enough to be your father, and 
pompous beyond description. You can^t have 
any real preference for him." 

" Oh, but I have. I am devoted to him,-'^ 
cries Thyrza, " and he will never pick holes 
and find fault with me. Do you think 
you are the only man of whom a girl can be 
fond?" 

" Thyrza, this is the finish up, then ?" says 
Ferrier, roughly. 

" It^s good to be off with the old love before 
you are on with the new," replies Thyrza, 
brightly. 

'^ I expected other things from you, Thyrza," 
pursues Ferrier. 

The tears come into Thyrza's eyes. She can 
stand out against blustering wrath, but Ferrier^s 
forbearance and reproach are almost too much 
for her. 

" Maister Dods is wearied for ye, mem, sitting 



222 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

a' his lane/^ in Cecilia's nasal tones, recalls 
Thyrza to herself. 

Ferrier looks earnestly and fixedly at Thyrza 
for a moment, then seeing she makes no over- 
ture of peace towards him, he turns on his heel 
and goes slowly downstairs. 




CHAPTER IX. 



T has been a long lialf-hour to Mr. Dods_, 
alone in the drawing-room. He has 
tried to read, but without success; has 
mended the fire and almost extinguished it by 
overwhelming it with coals ; has looked at his 
watch some dozen times ; has regarded his reflec- 
tion in the mirror over the mantelpiece to see if 
the crows' feet round his eyes and the lines on his 
forehead are very much noticed^ and at last sub- 
sides into a state of forced inaction^ during which 
he listens attentively to every footstep in the hall_, 
thinking it may be Thyrza^s. A little after 
twelve has struck on the cuckoo clock on the 
stairs, Terrier's firm tread is distinguishable 
going out ; and a few minutes later the patter of 
the children's feet in the passage from the 
schoolroom and Thyrza's light tripping gait are 
discernible to a fine ear. Downstairs come the 
quick steps. In the hall they pause. 



224 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Miss Rutlierfurd^ you^'ll help me fly my 
dragon V' calls Davie from tlie upper regions. 

^' Dragon, you little Scotcli creature," corrects 
Mrs. Napier, who chances to be passing through 
the hall, " why don^t you say kite V 

^'^ 'Cos it is a dragon, and Miss Rutherfurd 
painted a dragon^'s head on it/' contradicts Davie. 

" Have you not seen Mr. Dods yet ?" asks 
Mrs. Napier. 

" No," returns Thyrza, coolly. " It will do 
him good to wait. But I will put an end to his 
suspense noAV," and she goes into the drawing- 
room. 

Mr. Dods rises to meet Thyrza on her en- 
trance; his first impulse is to clasp her in his 
arms and kiss her; but she eludes his movement 
and sits in a chair as far from him as she can 
manage. He is speechless with happiness and 
simply looks at Thyrza without saying a word. 
Thyrza, on her part, is more inclined to laugh 
than to do anything else, and she thinks she will 
see how long the minister will gaze in silence. 
She does not offer to speak. The minister 
changes his seat and so does Thyrza. 

" Dear Miss Rutherfurd !" he at length says, 
^' I have asked and received full permission from 
your worthy, ahem, friend Mrs. Napier to pay 
my addresses to you." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 225 

Tliyrza edges to the farthest end of the 
sofa as the minister inserts himself upon the 
other. 

" And, dear Miss Rutherfurd, your answer to 
my question last night/' he continues, raising 
his voiee as when clinching an argument in his 
sermon, " has been the occasion of my visit this 
morning."" 

" But, Mr. Dods, I must tell you that who- 
ever answered you in the affirmative it was not 
me/' replies Thyrza. 

'' Not you V says the minister. 

" No, not I. Until about an hour ago I had 
no notion of — of the compliment you were so 
kind as to pay me. I think Miss Hislop must 
be considered the author of the answer you at- 
tributed to me." 

" I trust, Miss E/Utherfurd, that although such 
may be the state of the case, you will not with- 
draw your consent.'' 

^' It is better, Mr. Dods, that we should come 
to a clear comprehension of the matter, is it 
not ?" she asks, removing to the fireside. 

^' Have you not got a comfortable seat ?" in- 
quires the minister, with affection and anxiety. 
'' We can't talk if we are so far apart." 

" Oh, don't come any nearer, please," at once 
objects Thyrza, " I like you so much better a 

VOL. II. 15 



226 BKOWN AS A BERRY. 

good way off. We can talk very well indeed as 
we are." 

'^ In tliis^ I must acknowledge my opinion and 
yours do not coincide/^ answers tlie minister. 

" If you sit at the door and I at the fireside^ 
we shall require to speak somewhat loudly* It is 
not a seemly way of deciding." 

Thyrza does not move. 

^' If you sit at the door/'' proceeds the minister, 
" I must come thither. Let me beg of you to 
approach the fireside." 

Thus entreated, Thyrza returns; and the 
minister instantly draws his chair beside hers. 

" Don't come so near, Mr. Dods," she ex- 
postulates. 

" Ah, Miss Rutherfurd !" he says. 

" Now, Mr. Dods, Mrs. Napier tells me you 
have done me the compliment of asking for my 
respect and regard." 

'^ Love, respect, and regard," emphasizes the 
minister. 

" Respect and regard," continues Thyrza. 

" Excellent things. Miss Rutherfurd ; but very 
thin and meagre in comparison of the first." 

" I won^t argue the point, Mr. Dods. If I am 
wrong in thinking this, and Mrs. Napier has 
misinformed me, I am quite ready to let you off 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 227 

from any word you may have given^ and you 
shall never hear any more about it/^ 

Here is an opportunity which the minister 
would have welcomed on Sunday night with joy 
and avidity as a means of escape from his 
position of embarrassment. But that was while 
he yet lingered in the debateable land^ before he 
crossed its well trodden and oft contested border 
and ill-defined marches. 

" Miss Rutherfurd/' he begins. 

" Allow me to finish, Mr. Dods. You have 
not known me very long, and have had little 
chance of seeing me as I really am. My name 
is a good old Scotch one, and the thought may 
have crossed your mind that I have money .'''' 

" You are related to the Rutherfurds of High 
Riggs, are you not ?"• says the minister, with 
visions of what "connexions" may do for him, 
and congregations drowned in tears by the pathos 
of his preaching. 

" I don^t know much about it. I believe my 
father was a younger son of the Rutherfurds of 
High Riggs." 

"A cadet of that ancient and honourable 
house," remarks the minister. If there be a 
thing on earth he has reverence for, it is a real 
live lord. Thyrza rises tenfold in his estimation 
as he hears the relationship verified. 

15—2 



228 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

"Yes, that's what you call it. But don't 
imagine they will ever do me any good in the 
way of assistance. They never did for my 
father's mother when a few pounds would have 
made all the difference in the world to them, 
and I should not dream of troubling them now." 

'^ It would be different and pleasanter for you 
to go to High Riggs with your husband/' says 
Mr. Dods. 

" My mother's people live in England/' pur- 
sues Thyrza. ^' I've got lots of swell relatives ; 
but if it had not been for Mr. Mark's kindness 
to me I don't know what I should have done. 
If you really intend to marry me, Mr. Dods, it 
must be from liking of myself ; for with the excep- 
tion of a few old trinkets and my clothes I have 
not a single possession, not even a penny. Yes, 
after all, I have a penny — a sixpence in fact !" 
finding in her pocket the sixpenny-piece Ferrier 
has repaid her. She tries to pierce a hole in it 
for the purpose of suspending it upon her watch- 
chain. To her it is sacred, for it once belonged 
to Ferrier, and she has nothing of his but the 
withered, dried Gloire de Dijon rose he threw 
into the diligence when she left Villios. 

" You are defacing the Queen's coin," ob- 
serves the minister. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 229 

*' Her Majesty would not object if she knew/' 
replies Thyrza. 

" Miss Rutherfurd — Thyrza/' exclaims the 
minister, taking her hand, " ever since I have 
known you I have gradually felt that you were 
becoming necessary to my happiness. I am not 
so young as I once was, and at my time of life 
a disappointment of this kind is not easily over- 
come. During all my life I have never yet met 
with any one whom I felt I could love so much ; 
who united the qualities of beauty with modesty 
and a refined mind. This feeling has now come 
to a climax. Although you did not yourself 
give me that favourable answer last night, may 
I beg of you not to alter it.'' 

'^ Yes, Mr. Dods, I will marry you/' replies 
Thyrza, reflecting that when they are married 
she will induce him to cut his hair shorter. 

The minister approaches near, and attempts 
to draw her to him. Thyrza shudders all over 
with irrepressible aversion. 

"Oh, Mr. Dods, if you do that I'll never 
marry you !" she cries, with an imploring gesture. 

" Thyrza " 

" You must call me Miss Rutherfurd." 

"No one admires maidenly reserve more than 
I do; but I think in this kes you exaggerate 



230 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

it. It is, as I said of my question last niglit^ 
both common and proper and has the sanction of 
Holy Scripture — ' Greet one another with an 
holy kiss/ " with an approving smile at his apt 
quotation. 

^' It is not right for ministers to kiss \" de- 
clares Thyrza, jumping up from her chair and 
folding her hands behind her back. 

^' Are not ministers like other men ?^^ asks 
Mr. Dods; transported with rapture. " Have 
they not senses and feelings and desires even 
like other men ?" 

" No, they have not, or if they have, they 
ought not to have them. Mr. Dods, if you do I 
won't marry you. Not that it would be any 
great loss to you, for I daresay there are plenty 
of ladies who would be glad to be the wife of the 
minister of Carmylie/^ 

" You are very cruel," responds Mr. Dods, 
suavely, perceiving Thyrza is determined on this 
point and that if he persists she will fly off at a 
tangent. He is not like Ferrier, who notices if 
a single hair is out of place on her head; who 
observes every shade and expression of her face, 
and any new bow or ornament as only a man 
can do who is absolutely absorbed in the girl 
he loves, and which is the most pleasing form 
of flattery that can be ofiered to a woman. The 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 231 

minister will never ^''find fault" with Tlmza. 
He likes to see a well-dressed lady ; but lie is 
not a quick enough observer to comment on the 
little innocent variations and vanities the minds 
of girls delight in. 

'^ We shall sit like this when we are married," 
says the minister. 

^' Oh, shall we ? But I thought you had a 
study, and you will have to see to your sermons, 
won-'t you ? And I shall go into the kitchen." 

" I don^t intend to be always composing ser- 
mons, and when I have you at the manse the 
study will not be so often occupied — unless 
you come there to assist me." 

" Oh, I shall sew things for the poor," says 
Thyrza, somewhat vaguely. " However, we shall 
not be married for ages." 

" There again I do not agree with you. Why 
should we wait ? When did you think we 
should settle ?" 

^' Half-a-dozen years off will be soon enough," 
replies Thyrza. 

^' By that time I shall be past fifty-five. I 
can never marry younger. If I could stand still 
W'hile you were growing some years older, it 
would be all very well. This is Tuesday, all 
things being convenient and working together, 
what do you say to this day fortnight ?" 



232 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" This day fortniglit ! Oh, Mr. Dods, that is 
so very soon !" 

'' But my house is ready ; your trousseau can 
be bought ready-made in Middleby/^ remon- 
strates the minister. " There are some altera- 
tions in the furniture at the manse which I have 
always delayed making in anticipation of this 
important event. Might I request you to come 
this morning with me to examine the drawing- 
room T' 

^^ May I choose the furniture myself '^" asks 
Thyrza_, brightening a little. 

" If you will consent to this day fortnight. 
There will be time for the banns to be pro- 
claimed. I shall exchange duties with the parish 
minister of Queensmuir for that Sabbath." 

Thyrza decides that if she is to marry Mr. 
Dods she must do it quickly. But the more she 
reflects over it, the less she likes the idea. 

" Very well, Mr. Dods/-' she answers. 

Whereupon the minister, not warned by his 
previous repulse, again tries to play the part of 
an ardent lover, and again Thyrza, this time 
indignantly, refuses to permit him. 

Then they go out upon the lawn towards the 
croquet-ground, by the broken sundial where 
Terrier and Thyrza had stood in the moonlight of 
the summer night. Thyrza wishes to walk behind_, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 233 

anywhere indeed^ so that she may not be with 
Mr. Dods ; but the minister is extremely proud of 
his pretty little betrothed^ and placing her hand 
on his arm escorts her up to the group of croquet 
players. 

" Here comes the minister and Miss Ruther- 
furd/^ says Mrs. Napier. " How spoony he 
looks, to be sure ! We must congratulate them. 
I saw how it would be from the first when the 
minister called here so often. ''^ 

Jane and Lola MacNab wish the unabashed 
minister and the blushing Thyrza joy. 

Terrier is lying on the seat under the plane 
tree smoking. Although Thyrza is doing her 
best to appear cheerful and at her ease, he sees 
constraint written plainly on her face, and her 
hand scarcely touches, and consequently does 
not grasp the minister's arm. 

" Monsieur Terrier has not wished me luck," 
observes Thyrza, saucily. 

Whereupon Ferrier gathers up his legs from 
the seat, pushes his slouch hat over his brow, 
and muttering something between his teeth, 
takes himself off from the lawn. 

The minister accepts the congratulations with 
mild urbanity, and saying that he will bring 
Thyrza back in time for lunch, they set off foe 
the manse through the harvest field. 



234 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

It is noon, and the hour of dinner for the 
reapers. They are sitting under the newly-built 
stooks, eating smoking hot oatmeal porridge in 
wooden bickers that have just been brought 
from the farm of Carmylie Mains. Milk to 
cool the porridge is dispensed out of sundry 
large flagons by a tall, barefooted girl, who 
exchanges sundry jokes and bantering speeches 
wdth the men as she supplies their tin mugs with 
the pure liquid. 

The little wind there was has sunk to rest, and 
the air is still and calm. 

It is a lovely day for the season of the year, 
hot, indeed sultry, one of the kind which make 
us wonder if it will be like this in heaven ; if 
there will be the same blue sky, piled up with the 
purest, snowiest of clouds, just tinted in their 
hearts with the pink of electricity — soft billowy 
white clouds that haunt a summer sky — if there 
will be the same rich purple lying on such hazy, 
heather-clothed hills ; the same long sleepy 
shafts of warm sunshine to bask over the cone- 
laden tops of the pine plantations to render each 
colour of the woodland glades deeper and more 
harmonious. 

And if there is, as surely there must be, this 
same divine Lotus dreamlike weather, we may be 
certain there w^ill be no fading of those rare tints 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 235 

as Oil earth; no setting of the sun in autumn 
skies, for it shall last for ever. Angel harps 
will echo through the everlasting hills. We 
shall -walk through '' bushy coverts/^ holding 
sweet converse with our departed ones, whom we 
loved so well, and for whom we grieved so 
bitterly, and the presence of our Creator will 
watch over us through the ages of eternity. 

It is very silent. The murmur of the sea 
seems hushed and subdued. There is not a 
sound but the faint, almost imperceptible crack- 
ing of the black broom pods at the edge of the 
cliff, bursting open to sow themselves for the 
coming spring. 

The air is unnaturally clear. Every fissure, 
and mark, and jag, on the rocks at St. Philip^s, 
every green slope and tawny patch of grass and 
heathery eminence, with the shepherds^ huts and 
the cairns of stones on the mountains, can be seen 
although miles distant. 

Now and again a leaf detaches itself from its 
parent stem and flutters like a painted butterfly 
slowly down to its decaying brethren on the moss 
beneath. The tiny, foam-crested wavelets dance 
gailj^ along, breaking before they reach the shore. 
The sea is transfigured with light, glittering, and 
flashing, and sparkling through the meshes of the 
salmon stake nets, its waters covered with streaks 



236 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

of molten gold^ and flecked with millions of 
diamonds on every living ripple. Will the 
sea of glass mingled with fire be much more 
fair? 

The dead in their graves in the kirkyard under 
the " gowans" lie at rest^ and make no remon- 
strance as the feet of the fishermen^s children 
trip over the mounds, leaping over the deeply 
sunken head-stones, nearly obliterated by time, 
never pausing to reflect in their game of leapfrog, 
whether he or she who reposes in the earth this 
bright St. Martin's summer noontide, had begun 
their mortal career with the pulses of life beating 
as vigorously and joyously as their own. 

The gnats have come out, thinking summer 
has returned. The rooks hold a parliament in 
a turnip-field not far o&, and one of their number 
sits on a paling, the personification of wisdom, 
while the others caw and w addle over the fur- 
rowed land. 

No birds are flying about excepting a flock of 
lapwings from the loch that are practising flying 
previous to taking their annual flight to a warmer 
country. 

They wheel in an eddying circle with their 
backs towards land, a dark moving mass ; then 
they shoot sharply round and rest on their wings 
until they nearly touch the water, their white 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 237 

breasts gleaming in the sunshine like a shower 
of falling stars. 

The minister and Thyrza walk along the 
narrow path_, lined with eyebright and vetches 
and poppies. There is not room for both of 
them to walk together _, so the minister goes first 
and Thyrza follows after him_, gathering red 
poppies from among the yellow corn by which 
they are surrounded on both sides. She fastens 
the flowers in a white gingham sun-bonnet of 
Rosie^s she has found in the hall before going 
out, and swings it carelessly in her hand. The 
salt air brings the colour to her cheeks, and the 
minister, as he looks back now and again at her 
brown face and dark loose tresses among the 
tall ears of corn, thinks that she is the fairest 
and the sweetest among womenkind. 

They go down the street and enter the manse 
garden. It is old-fashioned and quaint ; laid 
out in heart-shaped beds, with high box edgings 
along the narrow gravel walks. There are only 
old-fashioned flowers in the minister's garden, 
sweet fragrant blossoms such as the bees love. 
Here there are no ribbon borders, no masses of 
colour such as may be seen at Lillieshill, but 
there are Jacobite roses which grew at the 
manse when Carmylie served as a hiding-place 
for the persecuted followers of Prince Charlie. 



238 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

There are ricli dark pausies^ and mignonette, 
and beds of scarlet and clove carnations, and 
double polyanthuses, and '^ dusty millers" {Scotch 
for auriculas), and wonderful wallflowers with 
rows of red and white daisies. 

" You will maybe believe noo !" remarks 
Tibbie to one of the matrons in the village, who 
had received her news with scorn and doubt, as 
the minister directs Thyrza^s attention to the old 
stones with the Runic inscriptions. He gathers 
a rose for her, a China one, of the same kind 
Ferrier had offered her the day before, and 
which he had destroyed on her refusal. 

^' I will have crimson curtains here, Mr. Dods. 
The room wants colour/^ she exclaims, when 
they are in the manse drawing-room. 

It is straight, neat, and precise in its arrange- 
ments, and looks as if no one had ever used it 
or lived in it since the manse was built. A 
sofa stands on each side of the fireplace, bought 
new on the occasion of the marriage of Mr. Dods' 
father and mother, fifty- two years ago, and in 
the middle of the room there is a large square 
clothless table with four legs. Thyrza feels a 
small degree of pleasure in the prospect of it 
being her own special abode. A poor pleasure 
truly ! connected only with stupid furniture, but 
still it is all Thyrza can find in the thought of 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 239 

her marriage with this middle-aged man. It does 
not occur to her to think what she will do when 
the diversion of arranging these lifeless articles 
is finished,, and there is nothing left to turn to 
but a humdrum Darby-and-Joan existence. This 
is not the sweet life she pictured for herself in 
her bright day-dreams, when she always hoped 
to do something beyond the ordinary run of 
things and now she will live her girlhood and 
womanhood in this dull quiet manse with Mr. 
Dods for her husband; on Sundays she will sit 
in the bare kirk in the cushionless, unpainted 
manse seat ; by-and-by, Carmylie will be sold ; 
the Ferriers will leave^ and she left behind will 
drone out her days somehow^ until the time come 
when she will join the company "of the rude fore- 
fathers of the hamlet-''' in the kirkyard^ which can 
be seen from almost any of the manse windows. 

" Anything you like/' replies the minister. 
He would be contented for ever to furnish the 
house a la Turque, provided she consented to be 
its mistress. 

"We'll take out this big ugly table/' she 
says^ " and have some little short three legged 
tables, and some jolly lounging chairs, and we'll 
have a crimson carpet, not all over the floor, but 
a piece in the middle., and the boards painted 
dark brown at the edges. Don't you see ?" 



240 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^' Yes, I see/^ replies the minister. Truth to 
tell, lie is oblivious of her words, being too 
much engrossed in devouring her with his black 
eyes. x 

" We ought to have some pictures, too/' she 
proceeds, " Mr. Mark has lots at Lillieshill. 
I am sure he would give me some if I asked 
him." 

" I should think you would get anything you 
asked from any person," replies the minister. 

'' I should like them in gilt frames. They 
ought to be gilt frames for a drawing-room, and 
the chairs and sofas should be crimson, with 
a cretonne border ; would not that be pretty, Mr. 
Dods ?" 

'^Yes, very pretty," answers the minister, 
" like you, my dear. There will hardly be time 
for all this to be done between this and to-day 
fortnight. But I will give orders for it to be 
finished during our absence." 

" Our !" Thyrza moves quickly away at the 
word, as if someone had touched hastily a wound 
not yet skinned over. 

" Absence ?" she says, inquiringly. 

'' Yes, we shall have a little trip after our mar- 
riage. You have seen nothing of Scotland, and at 
this season the western Highlands and the scenery 
along the Clyde will be very fine. I daresay 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 241 

vou will like to select the tables and chairs 
yourself V 

" Oh, very much/' 

" There is nothing good to be had in Queens- 
muir, and Middleby is too far for us to go there 
and back in one day. My cousin, Mrs. Hislop^ 
will be glad for us to go and stay with her for 
a short time at the Bank. You will then be 
able to purchase your trousseau. Friday first 
I daresay will suit her. I will speak to Mrs. 
Napier and ask her permission for you to come.^' 

" Thank you, Mr. Dods, but " she pauses. 

" What is it, Thyrza T' inquires the mmister. 
" All this will cost a great deal, won't it T' 
" Not more than I can afford,'' replies the 
minister. " I have lived carefully and saved 
a little money, some of which I have reserved for 
this very purpose. Besides, it is only one room, 
and being yours, the principal one, I shall par- 
ticularly wish that it should be adorned accord- 
ing to your fancy. But, to my taste, it will 
require no ornament when it contains you." 

" That was very nicely said, Mr. Dods," says 
Thyrza, reflectively. " Ought I not to give you 
something ? Is it not the custom ?" 

" Yes, undoubtedly you ought, and it is the 
custom. Perhaps you are going to relent," and 
the minister's black eyes absolutely twinkle. 

VOL. II. 16 



242 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" Fiddlestick !" replies Thyrza, placing the 
white sun-bonnet and its scarlet poppies inter- 
mingled with ears of corn on her head, and 
smiling at the same time with what seems 
ravishing sweetness to the minister. " I was 
not thinking of that. But ought I not to give 
you a ring ? I shan^t be able to pay for it at 
present. I get my salary^ £7 10s. , that is the 
quarter, directly, but I don't believe I shall have 
any over, because it must go to pay the bills in 
Queensmuir for the new things Miss Lefroy 
bought me. But if you can wait, I will give 
you the ring by-and-by. Is it not the correct 
thing to do T' 

^^ I can wait many more quarters for the ring," 
returns the minister, gravely, " than for that 
kiss you so hardheartedly refuse. May I not 
have one now V^ 

But Thyrza is stubborn, and shakes her head 
positively. There is a pause, which she breaks 
presently, by saying — 

" Mr. Dods, where do you write your sermons ? 
I have such a curiosity to see how it is done.'' 

" I write them in my parlour," he replies, 
flattered and pleased at the interest she takes in 
his profession. " But I am not going to 
compose sermons to-day," he adds, with a 
smile. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 243 

Altliougli the minister's drawing-room is stiff 
and formal, there is nothing of either quality in 
his parlour. It is a snug comfortable room 
with crimson flock paper, a black marble mantel- 
piece, and numerous shelves on the walls filled 
with beautifully bound editions of his favourite 
authors. The minister loves his books, and 
delights in seeing the thoughts of genius en- 
shrined in splendid covers. To dog-ear a book 
is in his mind a crime. To soil or not to return 
a book is a still greater crime, and a breaking of 
the eighth commandment. The names of Shak- 
speare, Milton, Thomas Carlyle, and numerous 
theological writers shine in gilt from the shelves 
on calf got up in the finest binding that can be 
purchased. 

On the hearth-rug sleeps a large cat, a privi- 
leged favourite of his master's, and in the window 
hangs a large cage containing a fine grey parrot 
with a red tail, which greets the entrance of the 
minister and Thyrza with, " Oh, you bad boy V 

Thyrza laughs, and is betrayed into whistling 
a scrap of a tune to it. She puts her finger 
within the bars, and Polly comes down from his 
ring, taking it in his grey claw and chuckling 
to himself. The minister interferes. ^'^ Don't 
do that, Thyrza dear. He will bite you. It's 
only a trap. He thinks your finger is a new 

16—2 



244 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

kind of soft stick invented for him to try his 
beak upon. Oh ! you bad boy, here is a lump 
of sugar for jou." 

Near the fire is a good sized Dolly Varden 
screen, presented to the minister by his admiring 
cousins in Queeusmuir, cousins Jemima and 
Karen- Happuch Dods, who in making the screen 
trusted it would prove a lucky omen that one or 
other of them might shortly be translated to the 
manse as Mrs. Dods. Opposite the screen is a 
Davenport of maple wood, containing sundry 
drawers m the solid portion of the woodwork 
below. In this the minister keeps his sermons. 
On each side of the mantelpiece is a small 
bracket made to lift either up or down. It is 
very convenient for holding the minister's toddy 
tumbler or pipe and tobacco. 

Thyrza takes possession of his leather chair, 
turns over the seals and pens in a case on the 
Davenport, and mounts a pair of spectacles on 
her nose. The minister unlocks one of the 
drawers and brings out several sermons. 

" Oh ! do you write them ?" she asks, looking 
up at him, the spectacles on her nose giving the 
dark face at the end of the white tunnel sun- 
bonnet a droll expression, which makes the 
minister laugh. " I never saw you with any 
piece of paper in the pulpit." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 245 

" No, I write them first, and then learn them 
by heart/' 

'' Learn them by heart ! All these pages ! 
What a time it must take \" 

" Not so long when you are accustomed to 
do so." 

'' How many heads have you T* 

" Sometimes five or six. There is a minister 
in Queensmuir who divides his sermons into 
' thirty-fifthly, and to conclude which, Chris- 
tian friends, I will subdivide into seven 
clauses/ '^ 

" Well, it's a fact,'' says Thyrza, in her pretty 
meditative way, as though she were pondering 
on some very weighty matter. ^' I am glad I 
am not one of the congregation." 

" So am I," returns Mr. Dods. 

" Are all these books novels ?" rising and 
going to the bookshelves. 

" No, I do not care for modern literature. 
After the sublimity of certain passages in the 
Bible, and the wonderful pathos of others, it 
seems to me all our productions fall weak and 
poor. For fiction there is the unequalled and 
unrivalled master, Shakspeare. One is never 
weary of reading his works ; and for poetry there 
is the great Milton, with his grand sonorous 
words. But I do not expect that you will care 



246 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

for these^ my dear. I shall be glad to take any 
magazines for you that you may wish.^'' 

" You are very kind^ Mr. Dods/'' she rejoins, 
impulsively^, and one or two tears rush to her 
eyes. '' I hope we shall be happy. I will try 
to look after your dinner, and see that the 
potatoes are properly boiled." 

And then she runs out at the door into the 
garden. 

" My dear, I am indeed the most fortunate of 
men/' says the minister, when he has followed 
her. 

" Can we have tea outside sometimes, Mr. 
Dods T' she asks, pausing between the high 
box-edging which, still wet and damp, makes 
woful work of her clean starched petticoats. 

" We-el, I fear if we did so, we should be 
overlooked by the population of the village. 
But if you like, I will have a summer-house built 
for you which shall face the sea, and you shall 
then have tea there while the weather is fine."" 

Rattray has come from the harvest field for a 
drink of water. Tibbie is still holding forth to 
the fishwife. 

" See to the meenister V^ she exclaims. " See 
to him ! He is clean oot o' his judgment 5 
He gaed to Carmylie after gien" me up my foot 
wi" his hat wrang side forrads. Me hae a lassie 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 247 

like you to be my mistress ! The meenister 
maun be pairfeckly demented/^ 

^' Aweel^ aweel/^ answers Rattray, stooping to 
quaff a long drink of the crystal ice-cold water 
that flows through a wooden spout, and is yet 
termed the Holy Well by the villagers. ^' There 
is nae fule like an auld ane ! But there is nae 
doot she is a bonny canty bit body, for as broon 
as she is i' the skin. And, indeed, I'm no sur- 
prised at the meenister. I could hae fancied 
her mysel V 




CHAPTER X. 



ND sae ye are gaien' tae be married Miss 
Rutherfurd/' says Rattray, patronizingly. 
" I aye kenned this wad be the end o''t ; but 
I never thoncht it wad hae been tbe meenister/^ 

Thyrza is standing in the kitchen doorway. In 
the background are the brilliantly-polished pans, 
the snug chimney corner, and a fire of wood 
burns merrily in the grate. Cecilia is trans- 
acting some cooking operations in a brown 
earthenware pipkin lined with yellow. Rattray 
empties on the dresser a basket of red-spotted 
silver- coated trout which an hour ago were 
swimming in the waters of the Bogg. 

'' Who did you think it would have been V' 
she asks. 

'^ The laird himsel V^ responds Rattray. 

" What made you think so, Rattray ?^' 

" Onybody could hae seen it. Wasna it as 
plain as the nose on your face, Cecilia V^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 249 

" Deed, aye !" replies Cecilia,, dutifully. 

" I seed it brawly. I dinna ken fat the deevil 
an auld stock like the meenister is wanting wi^ a 
lassie for a wife V' exclaims Rattray ;, much 
moved. " He canna hae mair money nor the 
laird." 

" Wheestj Henry/^ interrupts Cecilia^ noticing 
Thyrza^s troubled countenance. " Ye needna 
mind what he says^ Miss Rutherfurd; for when 
he ance sets off at the speaking there^s nae stop- 
ping him. I never heed^ and just keep a calm 
sough." 

" I see ye are as obstinate as the rest," con- 
tinues Rattray, having now come to the end of 
the trout. " Three dizzen and sax troots^ and I 
catched them in no abune an hour^s time. 
They^re the henderend o^ the season. Nae doot 
gin Adam had refused tae tak the apple. Eve 
wad hae come ower him some gait. That^s the 
rizzen we hear sae muckle o' Eve speaking and 
naething ava, o' Adam. Eve maun hae spoken 
first.*^ 

" I dinna think that, for we are telled that 
Adam gae a^ the beasts names afore we hear 
onything o^ Eve/-* says Cecilia. 

" May-be, may -be," returns her husband. 
" Then that will be the way the women aye get 
the last word. And when is it tae be, Tuesday ? 



250 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

— a fortnight a^ but ae day aff. Marry in haste and 
repent at leisure. And how will ye be tae do 
since you are a piskie ?" 

'^ She^s no making oot your braid Scotch/' 
remarks Cecilia. " Speak English^ Henry/' 

" Aweel, the meenister, he is a Presbyterian^ 
dinna ye see V pursues Rattray. " And you ; 
you're a Piskiepalian, Episcopalian. Noo, will 
you gang tae kirk at Queensmuir and yer 
husband, the meenister, oot by at Carmylie ?" 

^^ Of course/' replies Thyrza. " Do you think 
I am going to change my religion because I 
marry a Presbyterian ?" 

" But you'll find it some inconvenient, Miss 
Rutherfurd ; ye hae been taking corn frae the 
bin in Sultan's stable ; ye mauna dae that, and 
a' thing sic a price that a body can hardly get 
lived the noo, and coals that dear, and beef up, 
and meal up. There's tae be a strike tae amang 
the heather-beesoms, heather's riz like everything 
else." 

Thyrza moves forward to feed the pigeons ; 
they come round her fluttering and cooing, one 
or two turning somersaults in the air before 
descending to the corn spread out on the ground. 

"The minister is looking for you, mademoi- 
selle/' says Ferrier, walking across from the farm 
buildings. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 251 

'^ Oh, is he^ monsieur ?" 

" He is going for a long walk up the glen/^ 
he continues. 

" So he told me yesterday. I am going with 
him.^^ 

" On a day like this ? when it is raining I 
I must say he has a great regard for your 
health.^^ 

^' It is nothing particular/^ looking up at the 
sky, from which small drizzling rain is falling. 

" You ought to put on a pair of goloshes/^ 
proceeds Terrier, provoked with himself for not 
being able to keep away from Thyrza, or to show 
himself indifferent to her welfare, even in the 
matter of putting on goloshes now the roads are 
bad and muddy. 

" Goloshes, indeed !" returns Thyrza, with 
a glance at her neatly shodden feet in thin kid 
boots with the highest heels to be obtained in 
Queen smuir. " Goloshes, indeed ! You are 
always boring about wrapping up and taking 
care of oneself, and making oneself generally 
ugly. Who could look nice in a waterproof 
like a bathing gown and goloshes like a pair of 
boats ?' 

" The minister will walk you off your legs,^-* 
continues Ferrier. 

" Oh, when they are worn out Til get a pair of 



252 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

cork or of wood. They will do as well as my own 
and probably mucb better^ for tbey will never feel 
tired. I always sympathize with the lady who 
refused to pay for her glass eye because it was 
of no use to her. She had false hair^ but it kept 
her warm^ and also false teeth^ but she was able to 
eat her food with them ; she had rouge^ but it 
made her look pretty,, and false ears, but her 
own were ill- formed; whereas the glass eye would 
not fit in the socket, and she could not see with 
it, so she refused to pay for it. I adore falseness, 
vanity, and frivolity. ^^ 

" Oh, you^ll get a lot of gaiety at the manse, 
won't you ?^* says Ferrier, sneeringly. " Life with 
that old stick of a Dods will be a treat indeed." 

^' Yes, that it will. I shall be happy as a 
queen (that is the proper comparison for bliss) 
with darling James." Be it observed, she has 
never yet addressed the minister personally by 
his Christian name. She is not going to let 
Ferrier think she is pining away because of his 
infidelity, or permit him to see how she inwardly 
shrinks from Mr. Dods. She has taken the greatest 
pains with her toilette, her dress is no longer 
thrown on hastily, and her collar and bow pinned 
on anyhow ; she stands before Ferrier in the rain 
neat and trim as Charity herself, and erect and 
straight as a poplar tree. For this reason she 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 253 

welcomes Mr. Dods so afiPectiouately that he 
nearly puts into execution his deferred caresses 
before Ferrier's very eyes. 

'' He canH believe now that I ever cared the 
value of a pin^s point for him/^ she reflects as 
she trips away with the minister under the 
same umbrella through the steading and corn- 
yard. 

" Wonder if she really is happy /^ muses Ferrier, 
seating himself on the Galloway Dyke in the 
damp at the risk of catching an attack of 
influenza. By-the-bye, why are people always 
said to " catch " cold ? It is as if we ran to 
grasp the cold with outstretched hands after an 
exciting race. " Tries hard to show she is, at 
any rate. After all^ it is probably the best 
arrangement. Not the sort to stand much 
knocking about. Only hope he will be kind to 
her. Does not seem like it though^ old brute, 
trotting her off through the wet to see some 
humbugging member of his congregation. Bad 
as Tve been I could not have done that. Well, 
let^s see what Lennox says, ' things pretty 
smooth, grey shirtings much the same, business 
steady, trust you will not remain in England. 
Silk quiet. Ts^'o 3 tsatlee Koonfongs, tls. 75 
resi.' ^' However, Ferrier does the minister in- 
justice, for observing Thyrza's thin boots after 



254 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

a time, he insists on giving up the walk for the 
day. 

The minister has written to all his friends and 
acquaintances announcing his engagement ^' to 
an amiable and charming young lady^, a connexion 
of the Rutherfurds of High Eiggs."'' Thyrza 
has also informed Mrs. Salton^ of Islarshley Hall, 
in Loamshire, of the event which is so shortly to 
take place, and Miss Lefroy has presented her 
with forty pounds for her trousseau, which Mrs. 
Hislop has been requested to spend for her in 
articles befitting a minister's wife. Thyrza has 
not many people to write to about her marriage, 
but she has told Mr. Spindler at the pension, 
besides her aunt, and she is certain of a kind 
letter from him. 

After reading the epistle from his partner in 
Shanghai, Terrier goes to superintend the cutting 
down of some trees in a plantation near the 
avenue, and returning by a path in the wood, he 
sees Thyrza trying to reach a bunch of barberries^ 
a few inches too high for her, even when on tiptoe. 

" YouVe been crying, mademoiselle,^'' he says, 
advancing towards her with Wasp rushing through 
the newly-fallen dead leaves at his heels. ^^ Has 
Dods been making you cry? If I thought so, 
I'd go down to the manse and break his head 
for him.'^ 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 255 

^' Mr. Dods is kindness itself !" retorts Thyrza, 
making a jump at the barberries. 
'•Then what makes you cry?^^ 
^' Because I am so happy/'' responds Thyrza, 
choking back a sob. 

" Rummest way I ever saw of showing one^s 
happiness,, to stand and cry out in the wet. It 
is not becoming to you to cry. I donH believe 
in the typical woman who always looks divine 
when weeping. Judging from your eyes I should 
say your happiness is perfect.^'' 

"So it is, quite perfect/' declares Thyrza. 
" You have no umbrella, of course, and your 
boots are soaking. It is evident you mean to go 
oflP in a galloping consumption. I don^t believe 
you thought of gathering barberries until you 
saw me coming along. You''ve been sitting on 
these wet leaves.^' 

" No, I haven-'t," feebly denies Thyrza. 
" Oh, rubbish, you have, it^s useless telling no 
end of little fibs, for you have. It's as plain as 
the day. What makes you cry ? You never 
used to go at it in this way.'"* 

" I was not so happy as I am now.'' 

*' I never saw happiness of this sort before. 

Come, now, mademoiselle, you are not happy. 

'Tisn't natural for a young girl at your time of 

sweet seventeen to go moping and crying. We 



256 BROWN AS A BERRr. 

have only one life given to us in this world, 
that's patent to observation, and why should you 
spoil the blessed moments of your youth by 
making yourself miserable ? It takes away my 
appetite for dinner to see you so wretched. If 
you don't like Mr. Dods why marry him ?'' 

" If you and I were the only man and w^oman 
left alive upon a desert island I should never 
like you, monsieur/'' says Thyrza, not answering 
his speech at all, and taking refuge in sub- 
terfuge. 

" And if I found you in a multitude I should 
still single you out and like you the best of any- 
one living. But don't be in a state that I wish 
our former short connexion to return. With 
you I think it best — that was what you said — 
best that it should be knocked on the head. 
And I quite think so too. What has made you 
unhappy T' 

" If you were to live to be older than Methu- 
selah I would never let you know/' declares 
Thyrza. 

'^ But I have not the remotest idea of living 
beyond Methuselah; threescore years and ten 
will be as much as I can manage, and I shall 
have had enough of it by then. Wonder how 
the patriarchs felt when they were able to look 
back six or seven centuries of seed-time and 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 257 

harvest. Why, a man of four hundred was 
quite a frisky young boy/^ 

" How it has come on to pour !" remarks 
Thyrza. 

" So it has ; come farther under the tree. I 
am not going to kiss you; I have no claim upon 
you now. So don^t keep out where the rain 
falls heaviest. I know you don^t like being 
kissed." 

Thyrza remains exactly where she is_, beyond 
the shelter of the tree, and then prepares to start 
down the avenue. 

" It is like a thunder shower," she says. 

" I think you are the most provoking creature 
I ever knew V exclaims Ferrier. " Don^t you 
see that you will get drowned in this rain? and 
it is nearly a mile to the house, and you have 
got rather a cough already." 

" Well, what of that T' she asks. 

Ferrier takes hold of her by the sleeve of her 
jacket and pulls her forcibly under the tree. 

" I am not going to stay here with you, 
monsieur, she bursts forth. " I ought to be 
in the house now to get the children to learn 
their lessons for to-morrow. I am glad, very 
glad we are not going to be married. You 
would have been nothing but a tyrant and never 
let me do anything I like." 

VOL. II. 17 



258 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

"Why, I think it a merciful deliverance too/-' 
replies Ferrier. '^ I should about have talked 
my tongue out storming at you to keep in doors 
when it rained, and to put on warm, sensible 
clothing when it was cold. You might imagine 
this was a summer^s day, instead of being cold 
and chilly, by the flimsy muslin dress and jacket 
you have on/^ 

" I am not going to stay here, monsieur/'' she 
repeats. 

" You canH get out unless I let you."*^ 

" Any one but Monsieur Ferrier would let 
me go." 

" I don^t know what makes me bother myself 
about you,^^ pursues Ferrier, still retaining 
Thyrza by her jacket sleeve. You don^t leave 
any one belonging to you, that must be it. 
Well, I never — crying again. You^ll be a pretty 
figure to-morrow. By heavens ! Is not Dods 
behaving O. K. V' 

" Mr. Dods could not improve upon his 
conduct. Monsieur, I want to go back to Car- 
mylie.^^ 

" Well, in hcaven^s name, go then. But not 
without some protection from the rain,^' taking 
off his coat and buttoning up Thyrza^s reluctant 
figure in it. ^^ Now, put on my hat ; it will 
stick on well enough with those enormous 



BKOWN AS A BEKRY. 259 

cushions you have taken to sporting this week 
in your hair. Tuck your own hat under the 
coat ; it will keep it dry/^ 

^^ Mais, monsieur/^ remonstrates Thyrza_, '^ ijou 
will get wet." 

" Jove ! don^t make such a fuss about it. One 
would think I was made of sugar and spice and 
all that's nice, and would melt. I have got a 
good thick thatch to my head, though it is 
grey/' says Ferrier, walking along beside Thyrza 
beneath the drooping branches of the Semel ever- 
green pines which line the avenue, the rain 
falling in tremendous torrents on his bare head 
and white shirt. " This is not the first time you 
and I have been together in the wet, is it ? Do 
you recollect sitting on deck in the boat crossing 
from Calais to Dover in May ?'' 

" How it does pelt l"" exclaims Thyrza. " Let 
us wait.'' 

" Yes, for you to get worse cold. I'm about satu- 
rated," says Terrier, as little streams of water dis- 
charge themselves from the twigs of the boughs and 
trickle down the back of his neck. '' No, no, 
mademoiselle, if according to your showing I 
have not the feelings of a gentleman, I have 
those of a common man, and I am not going to 
allow you to go in the rain without an umbrella 
when I have a coat to offer you." 

17—2 



260 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Ferrier looks almost positively handsome while 
saying this^ and wiping the raindrops off his 
face, browned by the hot and hery sun of 
celestial China. And this is Terrier who could 
not sneer at and ridicule all love and sentiment 
enough. 

'' A fellow does not forget words like those 
all at once/^ he resumes : " they are apt to stick 
in the memory. However, I must not forget 
that the girl who is happy in her engagement 
with ^ darling James/ very properly wonH care 
a hang what poor Jack Ferrier may think or 
feel.^^ 

" Monsieur is right/^ returns Thyrza, " I don^t 
care." 

" Ah, well, if s a good thing you don^t. A 
man has no business to ask a girl to be his wife 
unless he has a home to offer her. He has no 
right to drag her into poverty, and you never 
could have roughed it ; you have not the strength 
for it. I hope when you are married you will 
choose some other way of showing your felicity 
than by turning into a water — what do you 
call ^em? — Dryad? — no, that^s not it. Naiad. 
Thank goodness, there^s the house at last. Run 
into the kitchen." 

Ferrier follows Thyrza into the warm homely 
kitchen, and removes his wet coat and hat from 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 261 

about her, and makes her sit in the old-fashioned 
chair before the blazing fire. Before taking 
off his own dripping garments^ he goes down 
to the cellar for a bottle of the prime port 
for which his father was so famous, and for 
which Jack has not to pay the wine merchant's 
account. 

" Now, mademoiselle/'' says Ferrier, opening 
the bottle, " you drink every drop in that glass. 
You're as cold as a stone and shivering all 
over.'' 

" Monsieur is choking me with kindness," she 
replies, faintly. 

" Choked ?" responds Terrier, lowering his 
voice, '^ you are easily choked. You were choked 
with my kisses on Sunday last ; but you will not 
be choked in that way again." 

" Whaur hae ye been, Maister Ferrier ?" aska 
Cecilia. "Ye're maist like a drouked ratten 
and fair steaming wi' damp. Ye'll be getting 
the rheumatics, laird; gae wa' and change yer 
feet.'' 

Terrier laughs good humouredly, and goes off 
to take Cecilia's advice. 

And then it comes upon Thyrza with great 
and exceeding bitterness, how passing sweet it 
would have been to be Jack Ferrier's wife ; and 
now she ought not even to think of him. 



262 BROAVN AS A BERRY. 

for she is engaged to marry tlie rainister. 
It might have been so different, too. Among 
the sad words in this world are not those 
^' It might have been so different/-* some of the 
saddest ? After all, that is not the question. 
The question is, would it be better if it had been 
or could be different? If we decide for our- 
selves, as we generally do, it will not do in 
such a case to make God the cause of all the ills 
and rough moments of our lives. We are simply 
reaping as we sowed. 




CHAPTER XI. 



N Friday morning, as previously arranged, 
the minister comes in his gig to Carmylie 
to fetch Thyrza for the purpose of driving her to 
Queensmuir to the Hislops' house, where it has 
been agreed the marriage ceremony is to be per- 
formed. 

The corn in the fields being too wet for carry- 
ing to be stacked, the horses have had a rest, 
and the large carriage is brought out. With the 
united efforts of the entire household, including 
Wasp, Mrs. Napier and the MacNabs, with the 
twins and Terrier and Rattray, are launched into 
the family coach. Ttie ladies are going to shop 
and have their cartes taken by the local photo- 
grapher in Queensmuir, while the two men are 
to give evidence at Gow^s trial in Middleby con- 
cerning "the assault^^ committed by him on 
Rattray in the Chapelton Wood. Thyrza and 
the minister in the gig bring up the rear. She 



2f)4 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

does not talk much, and answers in mono- 
syllables to his conversation about their future 
at the manse. The drive through the glea is 
safely accomplished, and the minister puts up 
the bottle-brush maned pony and the gig at the 
Carmylie Arms, after which he joins Thyrza at 
the Bank, where Mrs. Hislop and Eobertina, 
ready equipped, are waiting for him. 

" Well, Cousin James,"^ says Mrs. Hislop, 
^' which train are you going by V 

'' The 10.25.^^ 

'' Is there a train at that time ? I thought it 
was altered?" asks Robertina. 

Mrs. Hislop is consulted on the subject, and 
congratulates " Cousin James '' on his engage- 
ment. It being market day, he has a good deal 
to do in the Bank, so he retires to his private 
room, where Mr. Burnet from Carmylie Mains 
is momentarily expecting him. 

The minister having referred to the time- 
table, and proving that he is correct in supposing 
the train to start at 10.25 a.m., the party set off to 
the railway station, where Ferrier, with Battray, 
and the doctor who attended the latter for the 
injuries received from Gow, are pacing up and 
down the platform. The minister has a smirk 
of triumph on his solemn face, as he makes an 
observation on that last refuge of the intellec- 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 265 

tually destitute, " the weather/"' to Ferrier, when 
passing by him to the ticket office. Thyrza has 
kept well in the background with Mrs. Hislop 
and Robertina_, refusing to parade arm-in-arm, as 
Mr. Dods requested her to do, on the principle, 
''It is not proper to walk arm-in-arm before one 
is married, and she has no doubt Cousin Helena 
(Mrs. Hislop), or Cousin Robertina will do so if 
he wants them to, but she will not.^' 

The minister returns with the tickets and 
asks Ferrier which class he is going to travel. 
He assists Thyrza into the carriage with such an 
air of ostentation and delight that Ferrier 
hastens past him into the smoking compartment. 
There are two other passengers in the minister's 
carriage, who remarked to each other upon his 
pleased countenance. He sits and looks at 
Thyrza until she literally does not know what to 
do with her eyes. 

'^ How do you like being engaged?^' inquires 
Robertina, to whom the word " engagement "''' has 
a romantic and mysterious sound. 

" Pretty well ; it is sometimes nice and some- 
times nasty ,'■' returns Thyrza, trying to divert the 
current of her thoughts by admiring the view of 
the sea and the mouth of the Bogg. The 
minister never moves his black eyes from her, 
and the young men make what is evidently a 



26G BROWN AS A BERRY. 

joke upon his fixed attention. Thyrza feels 
fa riou 

'^ Mr. Dods." 

'^ What is it ?'' he asks, all alert and bending 
towards her. 

" I wish you would not stare at me so dread- 
fully/^ 

'^What is it ?^' he again inquires, the noise of 
the train preventing him from hearing. 

" I wish you would not stare at me so dread- 
fully/'' repeats Thyrza in his ear, and this time 
he does hear. 

" Why should I not look at you, Thyrza ? 
— which name means pleasantness.^^ 

^^ Because every one will know we are en- 
gaged." 

" We- el, and a proper and a right thing they 
should. Very shortly I hope they will see the 
following in the marriage column of the Kil- 
niddryshire Advertiser. ^ At Carmjdie, by the 
Eev. William David, of Queensmuir, the Rev. 
James Oliphant Dods, minister of Carmylie, to 
Thyrza, only child of the late John Eutherfurd, 
Knt., of High Riggs.^ " 

^' You need not put that in about High Riggs, 
Mr. Dods." 

^^ But I intend doing so. I have already a 
copy written out of the announcement to be sent 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 267 

to the papers, and I daresay you would like it 
inserted in the English ones too, on account of 
your aunt at Marshley Hall/'' 

" I believe you are prouder of the High Rigg 
relationship than of jne." 

" Oh no," replies the minister, with such 
fervour that it would be an insult to doubt his 
word. 

The numerous tall chimneys of the immense 
jute manufactories of Middleby, belching forth 
volumes of smoke ; the broad stream of the Bogg, 
here a wide and important river discharging its 
waters into the sea ; the gaunt cranes and pulleys 
and windlasses on the wharves ; the red and 
olive green, and black and white funnels, and 
forests of masts at the docks, belonging to a 
whole fleet of merchant vessels ; steamers and 
whalers, with figure heads at their bows painted 
in bright colours, and buntings and flags of 
various nations displayed in honour of the 
wedding of one of the notables in the city, come 
into sight ; while to the left lies the bay of 
Carmylie, the fishing village just a speck in the 
distance, and undulating hills green with whinze, 
and yellow where the sun falls on the faded 
grass. The water is alive with ships and boats, 
and fussy steamtugs, and the horizon is marked 
for miles with the sails of vessels on their way 



268 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

hard by the dangerous sandbar. Close to the 
station is the seafaring portion of Middleby ; 
sailors hailing from all parts of the world may be 
met there ; the shops are entirely fitted up with 
nautical goods_, and large warehouses where the 
jute_, on its arrival from India, is stored when 
unloaded from the ship. Every one in Middleby 
seems to have some occupation or business, and 
to be employed in some way. The place teems 
with life and work. After Carmylie and Queens- 
muir_, Middleby appears like another world, so 
much is going on and being done every moment. 
Queen smuir is nearly fifty years behind Mid- 
dleby or Juteopolis in enterprise and commerce. 
Being out of the general beat and shunted from 
the main line (though doing a considerable 
trafiic of its own) Queensmuir will never rise 
in the way some of its near neighbours have 
done. 

Thyrza has managed to evade walking with 
the minister in Queensmuir ; but he is not going 
to be cheated in Middleby, and as soon as they 
are clear of the station, he quietly insists on 
Cousin Robertina and Mrs. Hislop going on in 
front, while he and Thyrza come behind. As 
Terrier and Rattray have driven off in a cab to 
Gow^s trial, Thyrza does not so much object, and 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 269 

she and the minister steer their way among the 
knots of sailors ; the groups of Irish^ who are 
always to be found near the sea ; and the in- 
veterate boys who prowl about the quays with 
hankering eyes after the captivating ships which 
have come from the lands of palm-trees and 
adventure, and those exciting countries where 
the Indians carry off lovely maidens to be 
rescued by gallant trappers. Much more 
ensnaring are the charms of the sea, the 
ships, and the sailors, than all the girls in 
Middleby, to the schoolboy with his lesson- 
books in his bag on his back, and his task half 
learned . 

" I never saw any one so much in love as you 
are, Cousin James,^^ exclaims Mrs. His lop, laugh- 
ing, as they pause opposite a shop-door where 
they are going to buy dresses for Thyrza. '' I 
declare Robert was nothing to you. But then 
Mr. Hislop was younger, and I believe young 
men take these things more quietly and do not 
go into such ecstasies as those about your age &o" 

This is rather severe upon the minister; but 
he is equal to Mrs. Hislop, who is said to be a 
year or two older than her husband. 

'^The difference in age. Cousin Helena,^^ says 
he, " is on the right side. Every one has not 



270 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the opportunity of marrying so young a person 

as Miss Thyrza Rutherfurcl, of " 

" High Riggs/'' aflds Thja-za. 
" And noWj Cousin Helena^ we will choose the 
wedding gown." 

" Are you coming into the shop too^ Cousin 
James ?" 

" We shall get on better without you/' says 
Thyrza. 

" The wedding-gown is what I shall buy last. 
I am not going to say I am purchasing a bride's 
trousseau^ and then I shall get things cheaper. 
The shopkeepers always put on so much per 
yard when they hear it is a trousseau. But come 
in, Cousin James, I only thought you might not 
be interested m shopping; so few gentlemen 
are/' observes Mrs. Hislop. 

" I am interested in whatever concerns 
Thyrza." 

" It is extremely kind of you, Mr. Dods/^ 
replies Thyrza, wishing sincerely she might 
venture to beg him to modulate the tones 
of his powerful bass voice a little ; but re- 
fraining from so doing for fear of hurting his 
feelings. 

" Cousin James is quite a mooncalf since 
his engagement," whispers ]\Irs. Hislop to 
Robertina. " I used to think him a sensible 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 271 

man ; but now he is no better than a 
gowk. That lassie just twists him round her 
thumb.'' 

Having delivered forth her sentiments to her 
daughter, Mrs. Hislop purchases some thick ser- 
viceable gowns for Thyrza, which could with 
propriety have been worn by her great-grand- 
mother. 

" There's nothing like a good solid silk/' says 
Mrs. Hislop ; ^' it shows the worth of your 
money." 

" But am I to have nothing but stuffs and 
silks ?" observes Thyrza, dubiously^ vie^iing a 
brown silk spotted with large slate-coloured 
leaves^ which Mrs. Hislop pronounces will be an 
excellent one to be " kirked" in the Sunday 
after her marriage. 

'^ You can wear this when you go to the 
drawing-room next May at Holyrood with Cousin 
James/' pursues Mrs. Hislop. " Thick stuffs 
and plain things will best befit a minister's wife. 
If you do not dress quietly, how can Cousin 
James preach against the prevailing vice of 
gaudy attire ?" 

" We-el, very right, Cousin Helena. But 
may I not have a thin dress to wear when we 
dance at Holyrood ?'' asks Thyrza. 

" Dance at Holyrood^ when there is the General 



272 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Assembly ! Ministers' wives and daughters, and 
aunts and cousins dancing at the Drawing 
Room !" exclaims Mrs. Hislop, petrified with 
horror at the profanity of the idea. '' What 
can the lassie be thinking of? They are 
far too stately to think of dancing on such an 
occasion V' 

Thyrza lapses into silence and resigns herself 
to the useful, dingy clothes, without any soft 
tints or bright colours in which — being Mr. 
Dods' wife — she will be expected to array herself. 
They cannot wear for ever, like those of the 
children of Israel i)i the desert, and perhaps 
Mr. Dods may be induced to allow her to 
have something else besides snuffs and muddy 
browns. 

" Thyrza did not understand about the Draw- 
ing Room at Holyrood,'' says the minister. 
" You go in the evening and make your respects 
to the lady who holds the reception instead of 
the Queen. There is music, and everybody 
walks about. The rooms also are well lighted up, 
and flowers are stuck about. One night there is 
a grand dinner in the picture-gallery. The last 
General Assembly I was there the wine was 
dreadfully bad.'^ 

" Oh, what nice muslins V cries Thyrza, seeing 
a number of pretty fresh ones on the counter. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 273 

" Let her have what she likes/^ begs the 
minister. 

" I have spent all I can afford and the mar- 
riage dress has yet to be bought/'' replies Mrs. 
Hislop,, severely^ and then she requests to be 
shown some white silks. 

" Drab or a nice violet would be more useful. 
Miss Eutherfurd/' she pursues. 

" Oh, but I will have a white silk if I am to 
have a wedding dress at all."*^ 

" Well, it will dye black when it is soiled/^ 
observes Mrs. Hislop. 

" Oh, thank you,^^ exclaims Thyrza ; " and do 
let it have a jolly long train behind, half a yard 
on the ground.^^ 

" She shall have it two yards long if she 
wishes," observes Mr. Dods, hastily, seeing signs 
of dissent on Mrs. Hislop's face, and feeling the 
texture of the silk between his fingers. ^^ Is 
this a good silk ?" 

"The first quality, sir," says the shopman^ 
rather entertained at the spectacle of the 
elderly gentleman attempting to criticise silk 
dresses. 

"A train will make it so much more ex- 
pensive," objects Mrs. Hislop. 

" It must be made according to the fashion," 
decides the minister. 

VOL. IT. 18 



274 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^' Very well, sir/' remarks tlie shopman. 
^^Then I shall cut off sufficient to make polo- 
naise and the usual thing V 

Whereupon Mr. Dods, taking the reins from 
Mrs. Hislop's guiding hand^ commands the man 
to cut what is necessary^ and then he orders 
down carpets and curtains for Thyrza to choose 
what she likes for the drawing-room at the 
manse. But in this he is obliged to fall back 
upon Mrs. Hislop, for neither he nor Thyrza 
know how much stuff is required, and Mrs. 
Hislop observes that Thyrza has hit upon the 
most expensive carpet. After this they go to 
arrange about the chairs and " short-legged''^ 
tables Thyrza has fancied^ and Mrs. Hislop asks 
Mr. Dods pointedly whether he intends to ruin 
himself. The minister replies he has no in- 
tention any such event should occur^ and that 
he has been saving for years the money which 
will defray the expense. This is only part of 
the truths he having indeed saved, not for the 
purpose of ornamenting his house^ but for sup- 
porting himself in comfort when he shall grow 
aged and infirm. 

^^ There is nothing more to buy now/'' says 
Mrs. Hislop. 

^' I am going to buy the ring for Thyrza — 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 275 

indeed two rings/^ replies Mr. Dods. "How- 
ever^ I daresay we will go and have some dinner 
first." 

" Yes, shopping is tiring work," returns Mrs. 
Hislop. 

So they adjourn to some dining-rooms and 
then to the jeweller^s shop. The minister 
picks out the thickest wedding-ring he can 
find, and Thyrza takes ofi* her glove to try 
it on. 

" How does it fit ?" he asks. 

" It is rather large," she responds, while the 
minister turns it round on her finger, and the 
jeweller, a hook-nosed Jew of the pure Hebrew 
type, breaks in with — 

" There is another, sir." 

'' I wonder why wedding-rings are just a plain 
band of gold," she says. 

'^ An image of eternity," replies the minister, 
" no ending, do you see ? as," beckoning her to 
look at a case of jewellery at the other side of 
the shop, " I trust there never will be to our 
happiness." 

" No, I trust not either," she answers, 
questioning herself if she is doing right in 
marrying Mr. Dods, who is giving her such 
a whole love while she brings nothing in 

18—2 



276 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

return, neither affection nor money. The 
solemnity of the minister's manner somewhat 
overawes her also. When consenting to be his 
wife she did not think how earnest he would 
be nor how irrevocable the step she will be 
compelled to take ! 

" I shall take care of this until the momentous 
day/"* says he, slipping on her finger a large 
carbuncle which has attracted his eye from its 
size and richness of colour. 

Just then Terrier walks past, Gow's trial being 
over, and the scene of the swarthy Jew leaning 
over his gems and jewels, the white-haired black- 
eyed minister stooping down to the blushing girl, 
who turns from him with a half shy, half grati- 
fied expression to look at the ring, which shines 
like a drop of blood on her hand, is photographed 
instantaneously on his mind. 

" Hang it,'''' he exclaims, mentally, " that old 
wretch is buying the ring, and she — why, she 
actually seems pleased V 

And he goes on his way to the station, to 
which, a few minutes afterwards, Mrs. Hislop 
suggests they should also turn their steps. 

They reach the quay, the streets are thronged 
now the offices and schools are closed for the day 
and lights are placed in some of the shop windows. 
Behind the forest of masts and the western hills 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 277 

the sun is going down in a blaze of scarlet ; the 
sea lies still as a mill-pond, and long stretches of 
slimy mud are left along the harbour-wall by the 
retreating tide. 

Presently there are loud shouts and cries of 
" Stop him ! Stop thief ! Stop him !" while round 
the corner of the fish-market, w^hich leads to the 
Queen^s arch and the shipping, comes a man in 
a light cotton jacket and trousers, his head 
thrown back, and his splendidly formed shoulders 
and chest well out, at racing speed, followed by 
a mob of men, women, and children, all halloaing 
at the top of their voices. He dashes headlong 
to the quay, rushes among the warehouses where 
some men are placing jute, recently unladen, 
while behind him the crowd, increasing in strength 
and numbers, sweeps on like a mountain 
torrent over the ordinary peaceful passengers. 
Gow is running for his liberty, and he runs well. 
He eludes his pursuers, does tremendous execu- 
tion with a large stick, is nearly run to earth in 
a shop, and makes off again. The excitement 
waxes wild and furious ; the mob swaying to and 
fro as Gow darts first to one side of the street 
and then to the other ; no person knows exactly 
what to do or what has happened ; the police are 
nowhere, and Gow is caught in the vortex of the 
multitude, and almost overwhelmed and trampled 



278 BROWN AS A BEERY. 

to death. The mass of people have surged on- 
wards and pressed tightly upon each other along 
the paved walk on the top of the harbour-wall 
and several persons are precipitated from it into 
the mud below. Their shrieks and appeals for 
assistance as they flounder, only to sink deeper, 
with a fair chance of being swallowed alive, turns 
the day in Gow's favour. The crowd swing 
round to the new object of excitement, parting 
on all sides like a heap of dead dried leaves 
driven before a November gale, leaving Gow 
prone on the street, and, for the moment, free. 
He rises to his feet with the rapidity of lightning, 
and, seeing the coast clear, runs down a narrow 
alley or " close,^"* only admitting of the passage 
of a single person abreast, to a street frequented 
by the worst characters in Middleby. No one 
tries to arrest his progress ; he keeps on at a jog 
trot which gets him over the ground quickly, and 
at the end of the square (as it is so designated) 
finds a house which is uninhabited, having been 
condemned by the Board of Health as unfit for 
a dwelling for human beings. Glass in the 
windows there is none, boards instead there 
have been, and part of the door is broken 
away. Gow goes in at the latter, up the rotten 
staircase, and conceals himself in one of the 
empty rooms. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 279 

His pursuers, having rescued the persons who 
have fallen into the mud, look round for Gow, 
and the two warders of the prison, from between 
whom he escaped while being conveyed from court 
after being sentenced to three weeks^ hard labour, 
now come up breathless and at fault. The dis- 
appointed crowd disperse with sundry hisses 
and execrations, and a couple of sailors who 
have got up a fight on their own account in 
the meantime, are seized upon and carried off 
to the lock-up by the outwitted guardians of the 
peace. 

The minister and Thyrza come out from a 
warehouse where they have been glad to shelter 
from the disturbance. 

'^Well, Eattray/'' says the minister, stumbling 
up against that individual, swaggering to the 
station with his hands in his pockets, and his 
temper rather heated, " well, Rattray, Gow has 
escaped, you see.^'' 

" He has so, d n him,^^ replies Rattray. 

" Oh, Rattray, my good man. Swear not at 
all.^' 

'^ Sweer, I wad like tae ken wha wadna sweer. 
There's whiles a body maun sweer or burst,''"' is 
the answer. 

" Come, Cousin James, we must make haste or 
we shall lose the train to Queensmuir,''' interrupts 



2 so BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Mrs. Hislop. " Cousin Jemima and Cousin 
Keren-Happuch are going to dine with us, 
and I would not have anything wrong with 
the dinner for a thousand pounds, they are so 
perjinck." 




CHAPTER XII. 



HE Hislops have a family gathering at the 
Bank this evening, to inaugurate the en- 
gagement of the minister to Thyrza, and also to 
introduce his fiancee to her future relations. 
Cousin Jemima and Cousin Keren-Happuch — 
two ladies at that period of life known as ^^ a 
certain age," who had by no means abandoned 
hopes of the minister, and entertain strict views 
concerning predestination and the elect, dress, and 
gaieties, and the last heretic had up before the 
Presbytery — are anxious to see the minister's 
betrothed. There are also Mr. Hislop's ac- 
countant, Mr. Jardine; William Burnet, the 
farmer of Carmylie Mains, in his way rather a 
swell, who hunts in pink ; Mr. MacNab, from 
Quentinshope, and a goodly proportion of un- 
appropriated blessings. 

" Miss Rutherfurd, we are going to give our 
dance next Saturday,^' says Mr. MacNab. " We 
hope you will come to it.'' 



2^2 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" A ball, how delicious ! " cries Thyrza. 
" Will there be a band of music, too T' 

" Yes, from Edinburgh ; Archie knows some 
of the officers stationed in the Castle, and they 
are going to bring as many dancing men as they 
can, so there will be plenty of beaux for 
you/' 

" Oh, of course, I shall be delighted to come,'' 
replies Thyrza. " How kind of you to have re- 
membered your promise \" 

^' Shall you be still in Queensmuir, then ?" 

'^No, yes; that is to say, I was going back 
to Carmylie with Mrs. Napier after the ball." 

'' Then Mrs. Hislop will perhaps bring you 
along with her. Mrs. Napier and Mr. Terrier are 
coming to us next Monday at Quentinshope, to 
stay till after the ball. What a very nice young 
man Mr. Terrier is ! There is such a good tone 
about him, quite different from those prigs who 
have never been out of their native towns in their 
lives." 

This is a hit at Mr. Jardine, who Mr. MacNab 
suspects of nourishing aspirations towards Lola, 
which aspirations should be at once nipped in the 
bud. 

" Is Mon — is Mr. Terrier going to Quentins- 
hope?" asks Thyrza, rather faintly. 

" Yes, to be sure,'' responds Mr. MacNab, 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 283 

cLeerfuUy. " AVell; Miss Rutherfurd, you have 
not been long among lis before yon made up your 
mind. Veni, vidi, vici, like Caesar. I was as- 
tonished when I heard it was Dods here. You 
must know the minister has been a terrible flirt, 
and broken hearts, I am afraid to mention how 
many, in various towns between John-o^-Groat^s 
and Land^s End. You^re not putting off the day, 
either, Dods.^' 

'*^No/' replies the imperturbable minister. 
" Where was the use of a long engagement at my 
time of life ?" 

" Very true ; it is rather far in the afternoon. 
And how do you like the prospect of being 
married. Miss Rutherfurd ?'' 

" Very much,^^ replies Thyrza, toying with the 
minister's ring. '' I think its great fun. I 
should not mind being married two or three 
times a year. One gets lots of new clothes and 
presents, and a great fuss is made about you, and 
you are the chief person, and altogether it is 
very nice." 

" You do not regard it in a serious manner, 
Miss Rutherfurd,-'' rejoins Mr. MacNab, laughing 
heartily. " Some people think it so solemn a 
business that they never have anything to do 
with it.'' 



284 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

^' Don^t you feel frightened as the time draws 
nearer, hour by hour ?^' asks Cousin Jemima. 

" To the fatal day/' says Mr. MacNab. 

" And you think of all the responsibilities you 
are going to undertake T' pursues Cousin Jemima. 
^^ A minister's wife has many duties to perform 
and weighty calls to attend to.'' 

Cousin Jemima would like to ascertain what 
Thyrza's " views " on certain doctrinal points are, 
and whether she does not think the minister an 
admirable preacher. 

'^ Are you good at jam and jelly making T' 
inquires Cousin Keren-Happuch. " It is a very 
essential point in a minister's wife to be a good 
housekeeper." 

" I don't think she is," replies Robertina. 
" She did not know how many yards of stuff it 
takes to make a window curtain." 

" And do you, Kobertina ?" inquires the 
minister, anxious that Thyrza should make a 
good impression on Cousins Jemima and Keren- 
Happuch. 

" You had better come to our hop, Dods/' con- 
tinues Mr. MacNab, unconsciously interrupting 
Robertina, ^' and see that Miss Rutherfurd is not 
fascinated by any of the gay young officers. ^ Scar- 
let fever,' you know, generally carries all against 
the black coats." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 285 

'' Miss Rutherfurd^ I am sure^ does not care 
about dancing/^ remarks Cousin Jemima, in a 
voice of portent. 

The minister dreads Cousins Jemima and 
Keren-Happuch. If he were nearer, he would 
beg Thyrza to say for the sake of peace she does 
not ; but separated by a long table, he can only 
look imploringly at her ; and unfortunately, to 
Thyrza all his looks have the same significa- 
tion. 

" Oh, I do indeed/' replies Thyrza. 

" And I daresay you like going to the theatre, 
too V 

'' If I had the opportunity I should,' ' she re- 
turns, prudently suppressing the fact of her 
one evening's entertainment with the Villios 
barber. 

" I don't know ; I am not Cousin James ; but 
if I were, I should object to your going to the 
ball. There are certain things which ministers' 
wives should deny themselves, however strong 
their inclinations may be for them. Don't you 
think with me, Cousin James ?" 

The minister is willing Thyrza's every wish 
should be gratified, if within reason, and he does 
not relish the picture sketched by Mr. MacNab of 
her dancing with a number of handsome young 
officers, all more like her lover might have been 



28G BROWN AS A BERRY. 

supposed to be, and nearer her own age than him- 
self. Then he does think with Cousin Jemima that 
there are some gaieties into which ministers' wives 
ought not to mix, and the thought comes across 
him that it had been settled Thyrza and he should 
have a quiet evening together^ while the others 
were at the MacNabs'' ball, and that, considering 
how ready he has been to consult her on every 
point and whim, she might not have accepted the 
invitation without referring to him. 

" I think there are some truly,, Cousin Jemima, 
from which it is best to abstain/'' he answers, hesi- 
tatingly, turning to Thyrza. If they were only 
alone, or if Thyrza would only take a hint. But 
she never could understand meaning nods and 
glances ; and Eobertina, going to the piano 
thumps out — 

" My love she's but a lassie yet." 

" Oh, Mr. Dods V' exclaims Thyrza, ^^ you can 
have no objection to my going to the ball. How 
horrid it will be to be a minister's wife if I am 
never to have any fun.-" 

" That's splendid. Miss Robertina," says Mr. 
MacNab, as loudly as he can, in order to cover 
the sensation on Thyrza's remark. 

" There are other things in this world besides 
mere pleasures and engagements !" comments 
Cousin Jemima, piously. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 287 

'^ That is why one should take as many as 
we can of the pleasures/^ returns Thyrza. ^^ I 
don^t think we were born for the express purpose 
of being miserable/^ 

'' No^ nor I/^ coincides Mr. MacNab. " My 
love she's but a lassie yet. That's a truth." 

'^ The youngest person is capable of thinking 
seriously, and if one gives way once to a tempta- 
tion it will be stronger the next time. The first 
attack should be earnestly resisted. 

This is evidently directed against Thyrza's 
predilection for dancing. Who ever heard of a 
dancing minister's wife ? There have been ^' frisky 
matrons/' and " jumping matrons/' and ^' fast 
girls" and " girls of the period/' and females who 
indulged in Bloomer costumes, but a dancing 
minister's wife, that would out- Herod Herod him- 
self. Thyrza crosses over to a vacant chair beside 
the minister, which action at once melts his 
heart. '' Mr. Dods, is it so very wicked of me to 
want to go ?" she asks. '' Because if it is, I won't." 

^' My dear/' says the minister, as Cousin 
Jemima afterwards said in relating the story to 
a choice selection of intimate friends in Queens- 
muir, who did not visit with the Hislops— ^*^My 
dear/' says the minister out aloud and before 
every one, ^' it is not wicked. A little innocent 
amusement is a very desirable thing, and if after 



2S8 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the necessary toils of the day parents would only 
try to amuse both themselves and their children, 
combining pleasure with instruction, there would 
be less discomfort and unhappiness in families. 

In this the minister is perfectly correct. If 
the home be made, as it should, bright and cheer- 
ful and comfortable, the men of the family will 
rarely care to seek for pleasures external to it. 
Many a high-spirited, warm-hearted boy has 
gone, as the saying is, to the dogs, partly owing 
to nagging women-kind, and the wretchedness of 
a dull, untidy home. Monotony is more fre- 
quently productive of depression than might be 
imagined. To some natures variety, change, 
society, and the like, are absolutely necessary. 
Restless characters, if settled down by necessity 
in an isolated locality, where genial companion- 
ship is unattainable, are apt to become soured 
and embittered ; their natural good qualities, 
which in a favourable atmosphere would have 
been favourably developed, are dwarfed, and 
their life is in consequence wasted in cravings 
which, from the inexorable logic of circum- 
stances, can never be gratified. Persons of some 
birth and education often suffer in this way, 
more especially if they ha^^e not a due sense of 
religion. Phlegmatic and ordinary dispositions 
are content Avith the common routine. They 



BKOWN AS A BERRY. 289 

have no experience of tlie aspirations and desires 
of persons unhappily gifted with imagination and 
ideality; and^ consequently^ they are less subject 
to the ups and downs of the mind^ the fits of 
exaltation and depression, of gaiety and moodi- 
ness,, which sometimes beset those who have an 
unlimited capacity for enjoyment and suffering. 

We are all of us very dependent upon our 
companions for our happiness. The most fasci- 
nating of pursuits, music, painting, literature, palls 
before a cozy half-hour^s chat with one who can 
sympathise with and understand our motives and 
weaknesses. Thus it is, while no happiness on 
earth can be so perfect, rich and full, as that 
of man and wife who are sincerely attached to 
each other ; so no misery can equal that of those 
who are unequally yoked together for life. 

" Cousin James was fairly bewitched,'"' further 
remarked Cousin Jemima; "if the lassie had 
asked the minister to dance a hornpipe in the 
market-place of Queensmuir, she believed he 
would have been simple enough to do it.'' 

" Then, if it is not wicked, I may go ?'' says 
Thyrza. 

" Oh yes," replies the minister, sighing in- 
ternally at the thought of the evening with 
Thyrza which he has relinquished, but mollified 
by her coming to him. 

VOL. II. 19 



290 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

" By the way, Miss Robertina, did yon ever 
see a Planchette ?'' asks Mr. MacNab. 

'' No, I never did.'' 

^' Well, I have taken the liberty of bringing 
one for you from Middleby. Archie was staying 
with some people in Edinburgh who had one 
^.hat worked capitally^ and they had great fun 
with it.'' 

Robertina unfolds from a brown paper parcel a 
heart-shaped piece of wood, set on two little 
castors. 

" What a funny looking thing, Mr. MacNab ! 
What is the use of it ?" 

" You will see presently ; but perhaps this 
one may not work well at first. They are 
better for being kept a short time, and the old 
ones are the best. Get me a piece of paper, ]\Iiss 
Robertina, please, and also a pencil. I fancy it will 
write for Miss Rutherfurd, as I think she is a 
medium" 

Robertina brings pencil and paper, and places 
the latter according to Mr. MacNab's directions 
underneath the Planchette. 

" What are you going to do ?" inquires the 
minister. 

'' Mr. Dods will probably think the Planchette 
an unhallowed and unrighteous mode of prying 
into the mysteries of futurity," says Mr. MacNab. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 291 

'^Ask his permisssion and opinion before pro- 
ceeding further, Miss Rutherfurd/' 

*^ I have heard Mrs. Napier mention the 
Planchette/^ replies the minister,, " and I should 
like much to witness if what she said is true. 
Not putting any faith in it myself, I do not 
think it would be worth while to denounce it by 
such strong invectives as unhallowed and un- 
righteous/^ 

" WiU you try with Miss Rutherfurd V 

'' As I do not believe in it, the spirits most 
likely would refuse compliance for me/'' 

Mr. MacNab and Thyrza approach the table, 
and put their hands on the Planchette, while 
the rest of the party gather round them to see 
the result. 

" Ask who it likes best in the room,^-* sug- 
gests Mr. MacNab. 

'^ Ask whether Cousins Jemima and Keren- 
Happuch will ever be married,^^ whispers Tom 
Hislop, Mrs. Hislop's second son, a boy of four- 
teen, brimful of impudence, and attired in the 
glory of a new evening dress suit, and the 
agonies of a preternaturally stiff white neck- 
cloth. 

" Well, what is it to be ? Come, here is a 
question. Who is to be married first of the 
company in this room V 

19—2 



292 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

The Plan die tte begins to write, and traces 
legibly, " Thyrza Rutherfurd/' 

^' A very sensible Planchette V remarks Mr. 
Dods, " wbo will she marry ? ^ James Dods ! ' 
That is clear enough. But you are writing it, 
Mr. MacNab.^^ 

" No, upon my word of honour I am not. 
Planchette, what advice do you give Miss 
Rutherfurd? 'To keep faith.' You see that, 
Mr. Dods ; it is good advice for both of you. 
Now, Miss Robertina, the Planchette is working 
well, and it is your turn. The advice it gives 
you is, don''t dream of fops. Miss Tod, will not 
you try T^ 

" I am afraid it is really a very unhallowed 
thing, Mr. MacNab, and one appertaining too 
closely to the vanities of this wicked world,'"' 
sighs Miss Jemima, shaking her thin red curls 
sadly. 

" Oh no, do let me persuade you. Tom, you 
asked me a question just now. What was it V 

"Ask advice for Cousin Keren-Happuch,'' 
says the mischievous boy. 

'' She must stay in her castle in Bank Street, 
or else she will be mangled,'"' writes the Plan- 
chette. " Married, no, it is not married, it is 
mangled," reads out Tertius Hislop, laughing, 
" there is a fate for you, cousin !" 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 293 

'^ Oh., fie, fie, fie ! Impudent tMng, I am 
tired of it ! Take it to the door, Cousin 
Robertina ; take it to the door ! I am for no 
more of it/^ cries Miss Tod, excitedly, " I be- 
lieve Miss Rutherfurd wrote it/' 

" No, Miss Tod, indeed I did not,'' says 
Thyrza. 

^' I am for no more of it, I am going home 
at once, Cousin Helena. Impudent thing, it is 
not canny. Begging Mr. MacNab's pardon, I 
would put it at the back of the fire. Come 
away, Jemima. What are you sitting there for, 
like a doited body ?" 

Amidst the wondering glances and ill-sup- 
pressed laughter of the guests. Cousins Jemima 
and Keren-Happuch go up to the " best " bed- 
room to put on their things. They are not 
favourably impressed by Thyrza, and Cousin 
Keren-Happuch more than half suspects her of 
turning her into ridicule, an idea which is very 
offensive to Miss Tod. Thyrza dances, reads 
novels, and she has a taste for the theatre. 
She does not admire cooking nor the making 
of jams, jellies, and pickles and butter and cheese. 

" I hope Cousin Keren-Happuch is not of- 
fended," says Mrs. Hislop, anxiously. 

Cousins Jemima and Keren-Happuch are pos- 
sessed of certain shares in a gas company in 



294 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

Qiieensmiiirj which pays remarkably well, and 
Mrs. Hislop thinks they may as well leave the 
said shares to her children ; consequently, many 
not quite polite remarks and other little pecu- 
liarities are forgiven the Miss Tods by Mrs. 
Hislop. One cannot have too many friends in 
this world, especially friends with money in- 
vested in shares which pay well. 

'^ If she is offended, she is a sillier old woman 
than I take her to be/^ replies Mr. MacNab. 

Cousins Jemima and Keren-Happuch feel 
deeply for the coming afflictions of " Cousin 
James.^^ 

They see nothing for the minister but 
wretchedness and tribulation, "woe worth the 
day, woe worth the hour," that Mr. Dods^s black 
eyes beheld this Papist, this Jesuit in disguise, 
who would undermine and corrupt his godly 
Calvinistic principles, this half French girl whose 
" face was her fortune,^"* and like the beggar 
maid in her rags, with haildrops hanging on her 
hair for jewels, had gained possession of what 
Cousins Jemima and Karen- Happuch had vainly 
striven to obtain for years — the minister's heart. 

Formerly when they had met the minister at 
a party at the Bank he had escorted them home. 
Now, he left them to the tender mercies of the 
Hislop boys^ and a lively conversation to the 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 295 

following effect greets the ears of the sisters when 
coming downstairs^ after muffling themselves up 
in sundry and manifold shawls and hoods. 

" I am not going to take those old frumps 
home, I can tell you, Tom," says the eldest 
Hislop boy. 

'^ You always get out of it, Tertius, and leave 
it to me," responds the younger, " I'm going to 
have a game at draughts with that jolly Ruther- 
furd girl. I wish I was Cousin James, wouldn't 
I give her a kiss, that's all." 

" Well, I am not going to take them," pro- 
tests Tertius ; ^' why can't my father !" 

But Tertius speaks to the air, Tom having 
clambered up the outside of the banisters, and 
so gains the drawing-room before his brother 
realizes he has been given the slip. 

" Mamma, isn't it splendid ? I've got out of 
taking those old Tods home !" he exclaims, 
somewhat too loudly, close beside Cousins Je- 
mima and Keren- Happuch. 

Mrs. Hislop bestows on him a look of warn- 
ing, and trusts the Miss Tods have not heard. 

" Tom will be delighted to take you home. 
Cousin Jemima," says Mrs. Hislop, blandly. 

The Miss Tods, however, have heard, and 
bestow a glance upon Tom, not of warning 
but of wrath. They shake hands impressively 



296 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

with the minister, and bid him farewell in a 
voice between a wail and outright weeping. 
The next time they meet, Cousin James will 
have gone the road of all flesh, and be no longer 
a single man with a susceptible heart, open to 
the charms of a spinster lady who would have 
kept the manse ^' neat as a new pin /■' but they 
take comfort from the reflection. Cousin James 
will before long discover what a mistake he has 
made ! They accept Mrs. Hislop^s offer of Tom 
" just out of bad temper,'''' he declared. " Who 
would want to run away with them ? but he gave 
them such a dose of Cousin James and Miss 
E/Utherfurd, they won^t speak to him again for 
a while."'' Upon which Tertius replied the Tods 
were well off, and if Tom would not cultivate 
them he would. Whereupon Tom said he would 
take care Tertius did not get the money and 
play draughts with Thyrza as well. 

" Good Christian women, Cousins Jemima 
and Keren- Happuch,'" says the minister, after 
they have wailed and whined themselves out of 
the room, and delivered an exordium to Thyrza 
upon the vanity of earthly things, and handsome 
trousseaux in particular. " Jolly Rutherfurd girl, 
indeed V No one had ever taken the liberty of 
calling them "the jolly Tod girls,'' even when 
they were like Thyrza, in the halcyon days of 



BROWN AS A EERRY. 297 

youthj when the goblet of life is filled to the 
brim, and holding it in their hands, they stood 
■wavering and hesitating beside the brook where 
womanhood and childhood meet. The minister 
feels tenderly towards Cousins Jemima and 
Keren-Happuch on account of their blighted 
love. Poor things ! They had always been 
fond of him. His marriage would be a great 
blow to them. As a reward for their devotion 
they should be invited to the manse to see his 
happiness with his young wife ; and if they leave 
him a nice legacy he would say a pathetic prayer 
at their funeral, and buy handsome mourning in 
their memory. 

" When we are married will the Miss Tods 
come to stay with us T' asks Thyrza, taking 
two of Tertius^s pieces at once, he having appro- 
priated the seat coveted by Tom. 

" We-el, yes. They have been in the habit of 
coming out every summer to the manse for a 
number of weeks. Of course there was always 
a matron in the house at the time.'''' 

" And will they stay long T' pursued Thyrza, 
with a distinct notion she and the Miss Tods 
will not get on. She does not love the minister 
— he is going to give her a home in which she 
will be mistress, and he has insured his life ibr 
her for a moderate sum, so she must submit to 



208 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the Miss Tods as slie lias done to the sad colours 
in her trousseau. They will probably have 
different ideas from hers even on the subject of 
mending- stockings and sewing on shirt buttons. 
Perhaps she will not require to do that for some 
time, however, as the minister will invest in a 
stock of new clothes, and as to the fishing 
population at the village they did not seem to 
need much in that way beyond a very short 
linsey-woolsey petticoat as regarded the women, 
and a very baggish sort of jacket known by them 
as a short gown. 

" Now that there will be a mistress, I daresay 
they will come oftener/^ returns the minister ; 
" it will be a pleasant change for them to the 
country after Queensmuir."" 

" Will they stay a month V 

" I daresay they will.^^ 

" I mean a month at a time, not a month 
altogether.^'' 

" Yes, I have no doubt they will."^ 

"Oh!" says Thyrza, blankly, feeling she would 
rather walk with Ferrier in sackcloth and ashes, 
and beg her bread from door to door, having only 
the sky and the stars as roof over her head, than 
live in plenty and comfort at the manse with Mr. 
Dods. " Oh ! Miss Rutherfurd, Tve huffed you,'' 
remarks Tertius. 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 299 

" Mrs. Hislop^ I see the moon is up now, so I 
must make the best of my way out to Carmylie. 
Have you anything to send there. Miss Ruther- 
furd T' asks young Burnet. 

" Are you going to Carmylie to-night ?^^ ex- 
claims Thyrza. Carmylie, where she is going to 
live when Ferrier will have crossed the seas to 
China again ; when long leagues of tossing waters 
will lie between them ; Carmylie, which now holds 
all she loves on earth — the word has a spell for 
her no other name can ever have. Already it 
seems years since she quitted its hills and moors, 
its cliffs and the quaint fishing village. Time 
cannot always be measured by days, weeks, and 
months, and the feelings of an age seem con- 
densed into the few hours which have passed 
since the morning. " How I envy you V 

'^ So do I, Mr. Burnet,^^ says Robertina, " what 
a beautiful ride you will have \" 

" Come with me. Miss Robertina,^^ replies the 
farmer gallantly. " If I were driving I could 
easily take you out, but I am afraid my horse 
won^t stand the old style of pillion. I think it 
must have been a very pleasant way of getting 
about/' 

"What a clever escape that was of Gow% 
Dods ! I hear the warders never dreamt he would 
do such a thing, for as they left the door of 



300 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

the County Buildings, he calmly made off. He is 
not caught yet either. Good night, Mr. Burnet, 
you have a long ride before you and a bad 
road.^' 

" Oh, it's safe enough on a night like this. 
Fve often ridden it when the drifts of snow were 
ten and twelve feet deep in the winter. Now, 
Miss Robertina, don't forget you are engaged for 
the first dance to me, whatever it is, at the ball.'' 

" Good night, Mr. Burnet," returns Bobertina, 
"you'll be meeting Gow perhaps in the Chapelton 
Glen." 

" Then if I don't appear to claim my promise 
on Saturday next, you will know what has hap- 
pened," he replies laughing. " But I shall be 
calling at the Bank before then to let you know 
whether Gow and I have had an encounter. 
Mr. Ferrier hardly mastered him, notwithstanding 
the man had but one arm to fight with, and, 
though not very stout in his build, Mr. Ferrier 
is a strong sinewy fellow. Gow must be an 
awkward customer to tackle. Mrs. Hislop, if 
you hear odd noises in the night, you may make 
sure that the fellow is concealed somewhere for 
the purpose of committing burglary." 

" Oh, Mr. Burnet, what a shame to put such 
an idea into my head. I shall not be able to sleep 
for thinking of it." 



BROWN AS A BERRY. 301 

'' Better stay all night, Burnet, and have 
another glass of toddy/^ urged Mr. Hislop. 

Mr. Burnet departs to the Carmylie Arms 
for his horse, where, generally on market days, 
he dines with most of the other farmers in the 
neighbourhood, and after a brief colloquy with 
mine host, trots through the kiik-wynd into the 
open country. 

Several hours previous Gow has moved out of 
the empty house in Middleby to an acquaintance 
of his — a disreputable individual who keeps a 
pawnbroker's shop in the same alley in which 
is situated his place of refuge. Some few 
minutes later a man comes forth out of the 
pawnbroker's shop, wearing a hat pulled far over 
his face, a large black beard and whiskers, and a 
coat and pair of trousers very much the worse for 
wear. He carries on his back a pedlar's pack 
filled with shavings, and in his hand a bundle, and 
he stoops a great deal. In this apparently- 
bowed, decrepit figure, it would be difficult to 
recognise the broad shoulders and erect form of 
the poacher. He totters along, with the aid of a 
stick, to the harbour — no notice is taken of him. 
Old men on the verge of the grave are common 
enough objects among the seething sea of 
humanity in Middleby. The evening shadows 
fall across the mouth of the Bogg, and those 



302 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

cast by the shipping, the masts, rigging, and 
hulls of the vessels are dark and intense. Op- 
posite a jnte ship, in the shadow of the hull, the 
feeble old man drops his bundle and a boot. 
The other he lets fall into the water. Then he 
hobbles on painfully until he quits the environs 
of Middleby, when a man who has been carting 
wood thither offers him a seat in his cart, and, 
after a time, when he is obliged to turn up the 
road to the farm where he lives, he recommends 
the old man to a farmer driving back from market 
some distance beyond Queensmuir. The old 
man, on being set down, wishes that all the bless- 
ings of heaven and the saints may rest upon his 
honour. The farmer says he is welcome, not, how- 
ever, putting much faith in the good wishes. 
These have often been expressed in like manner 
before by others without any material differ- 
ence being experienced in his luck. When 
the farmer is quite out of sight, the old man 
suddenly stands upright, and strikes out at 
an amazingly rapid rate for the Bridge of Bogg, 
near to which there is a cottage where lives 
a woman called Margaret Gow. He crosses 
the bridge : the mill is silent : no water rushes 
over the great black wheel : the rabbits are asleep 
in their warrens, cuddled together for warmth : 
the miller and his family are asleep, and the 



BUOWN AS A BERRY. 303 

windo-ws are bolted and the shutters closed. 
Further on is the cottage : all is still there also. 
Gow knocks at the door — no answer is returned. 
He knocks again — no answer yet. Then he 
gives a tremendous kick with his foot^ but the 
bolt within does not give way. A voice is heard 
at the keyhole. 

" Wha^s chapping (knocking) that gait at this 
oor o' the nicht V 

" It^s me/^ replies Gow. 

"And wha will be you?^^ continued the 
voice cautiously^ " Vm. just a puir ooman living 
here^ mylane, and Fm no to open the door.''"' 

" Deil taV the woman/^ says Gow, " are ye 
no kenning me ?^^ 

The bolt is now withdrawn, and Gow goes in. 
His wife has kindled a rushlight, and shrieks 
when she sees the black beard and whiskers. 

*^ Wheestj woman V he remarks, removing 
them. " Dinna waken the bairns nor mither. I^m 
terrible hungry. Hae ye naething to eat T' 

Mrs. Gow opens a cupboard and produces the 
remains of some stewed Australian beef and some 
cold potatoes, and sets them before him. 

" Where got ye that ?" he asks. 

" Frae the laird, we've been better aff nor 
when ye^re at hame.^' 

" Fat did he gie ye T' 



304 BROWN AS A BERRY. 

'^'^Five shillings a week and a muckle tin o' 
beef/^ 

" Australian, I'm douting. The laird micht 
hae made it glide beef and no horseflesh ! It 
doesna taste bad for horseflesh though." 

" And how cam^ you oot o^ prison V 

" Weel^ when they were taking me oot to the 
van I just ran afi" and hid in a hoose not far 
frae the shore. Syne, when it got dark, I came 
awa\ 

" How did ye get travelled sae fast ?" 

'^ I got a wheen lifts, or I couldna' hae come.''^ 

^^ But they will be catching ye," says his 
wife, anxiously. She is a little woman, and 
worships her big, powerful husband. " How did 
ye come here?" 

" I put my claes by the river, and threw in 
my hat and boot ; they^ll never think but what 
Fm drooned. Ye^ll be seeing a fine thing in a' 
the papers aboot it." 

'' But they^ll catch ye some time," pursues 
Mrs. Gow, '^ and ye^U maybe get langer. Wadna 
it hae been better tae hae tholed it, and been 
through wi' it." 

" Na, it wadna," replies Gow, shortly. 

" It''s a wearisome thing," she adds, coming to 
her husband and kissing him fondly ; '* an' fat will 
ye be tae do, Peter ? Ye ken ye canna bide here." 



BROWN AS A BEftRY. 305 

" There's a shepherd's shciling on the Moss 
at the Chapelton wood. The peats will be a' 
carted aw a' by this time; and there's nae person 
gangs near the Moss nnless it be at the cutting 
and drying and carting o' the peats." 

" Will ye need tae be ganging noo ?" 

" Ay, Jeanie^ lass." 

•^^ There's a blanket tae ye^ Peter. It's gae 
cauld o' the nichts noo/' taking a thin worn one 
from oflP her box-bed. The bairnies hae the 
plaid; and Mistress Terrier she's tae send new 
blankets the morn." 

" It's as little as they can weel dae/' returns 
GoW; morosely, " driving a puir man oot of his 
hame and a', and a man that never lifted the 
value o' a bawbee frae anybody." 

'^ Fat's that ye gaeing to do ?" exclaims Jeanie, 
as Gow picks up a peculiar old knife^ sharpened 
by use and ground down to a fine point. '^ Oh, 
Peter; laddie, dinna gang that gait. Think o' 
me and the puir bairnies." 

" Wha's stopping at Carmylie Hoose the 
noo ?" 

" The Lillieshill fouk^ and I dinna ken wha 
else." 

"Gude nicht tae ye, Jeanie, lassie/' says 
Gow, stooping down to his wife. " I'll need 
tae be ganging tae the shieling noo;" and he 

VOL. II. 20 



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